Cabinet has approved a number of changes to the Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Bill currently before the House in light of health and safety recommendations made in the Pike River Royal Commission's final report (released last month). Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley tabled the amendments in Parliament last week.
The Royal Commission's report endorsed the proposals set out in the Bill as first introduced but also recommended the following further changes to emphasise health and safety aspects of the regime:
- requiring greater collaboration between regulators to ensure that health and safety is considered as early as possible and before permits are issued;
- changing the Crown Minerals Regime to ensure that health and safety is an integral part of permit allocation;
- requiring the Minister of Energy and Resources to seek the view of the appropriate health and safety regulator and take this into account before issuing a Tier 1 (higher risk) exploration or mining permit;
- prohibiting the commencement of Tier 1 mining activities until the health and safety regulator is satisfied the health and safety requirements have been met; and
- including health and safety considerations in the definition of "good industry practice" to recognise the link between health and safety and maximising the extraction of a resource.
- The Commerce Committee will announce its process for consultation on the amendments in due course. Submissions on the Bill in its entirety are due by 25 January 2013.
A summary of the main recommendations contained in the Royal Commission's final report can be found in the previous edition of Watching Brief, here.