The review seeks input on the effectiveness of and what should change in the legislation.  The background information confirms WA’s intention to nationalise its work health and safety legislation (most likely in early 2015) and include the regulation of major hazards facilities in the Mining Work Health and Safety Legislation.

The statutory review process

Under Section 69, the operation and effectiveness of the Dangerous Goods Safety Act (DGSA) is required to be independently reviewed every five years with the present review scheduled to conclude in June 2014.

What the Dangerous Goods Legislation Currently Covers

The DGSA regulates the manufacture, storage, handling and transport of dangerous goods and the operation of major hazard facilities (MHFs) in Western Australia. The legislation’s purpose is to ensure dangerous goods are adequately managed to minimise risk of harm to health of persons and significant or unreasonable harm to property or the environment.

Nationalisation of Work Health and Safety

The review is taking place at the same time as the safety legislation reform program aimed at aligning Western Australian legislation with the National Model Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Act. Under the reform program the Resources Safety Division (RSD) of the DMP are working towards achieving the regulation of mines safety, petroleum safety and MHFs under a new WHS (Resources) Bill. 

Major Hazard Facilities

A key outcome of the review will be to redraft the DGSA to remove MHFs and to improve consistency with national model legislation. Currently there is duplication in some regulatory aspects of MHFs between the RSD and WorkSafe.  The inclusion of MHFs in the proposed WHS (Resources) Bill is intended to remove this duplication.

Safe Work Australia Review of explosives

This review is also taking place whilst an explosives reform project is being undertaken by Safe Work Australia aimed at developing model explosives legislation consistent with the model WHS legislation. This work commenced in mid-2013 and in anticipated to be completed over the next three years. This work may result in a need for further legislative change in WA.

Likely changes to regulations

In addition to amending the DGSA, reform of the Dangerous Goods Safety regulations is also likely to take place. Stakeholder feedback is being sought on two options:

  • To consolidate all the regulations into one set as per the model WHS regulations; or
  • To consolidate all licensing elements into the general regulations and leave the technical regulations (dealing with dangerous goods, explosives and transport) separate.

The issues for consideration

As part of the consultation process, the RSD has released an Information Paper DG Act Review Information Paper. Comments and insights on any aspect of the operation of the DGSA are invited with particular input requested on the following issues:

  • How has the Act assisted government and industry to perform their roles across the past 5 years?
  • What have been the learnings and experiences of industry, government partners and DMP in administering the Act to date?
  • What improvements to the current legislation and attendant regulations warrant consideration?
  • What opportunities exist to further modernise regulatory and compliance practice within the framework provided by this Act?
  • Is the scope of the current Act appropriate?
  • How could administration of the Act be improved?
  • What does industry, government partners and the community say about the performance of DMP in administering the Act?
  • How can interagency regulatory, inspection and compliance activity be strengthened or improved?
  • Are there best practice experience and insights from other jurisdictions that might be considered in future legislative and regulatory arrangements in Western Australia?
  • Is stand-alone dangerous goods safety legislation required?

How to make submissions

Organisations and businesses wishing to make submissions or to meet with the Consultant can contact the Consultant, George McCullagh by phone on 0414 999 151 or by email at: [email protected]  

In addition to dealing directly with the Consultant, submissions can be made via the DMP program of consultation with industry, government and other stakeholders in the next two months. A short online survey will also be released for interested individual licence holders. A range of industry associations, co-regulators and peak bodies will also be approached directly for an opportunity to contribute to the review.