In anticipation of amendments to the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (Qld) (Act), companies covered by the Act should begin turning their minds to current appointments and potential changes they may wish to implement, particularly taking into account the proposed removal of the limitation period.
The Land, Explosives and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (Qld) (Bill) was re-introduced into Queensland Parliament this month to amend the Act, amongst others.
Whilst a number of amendments to the Act are proposed, the key amendments from our perspective are:
- amending the time limit to bring a proceeding to two years after the offence first comes to the notice of the complainant. This has the effect of removing any time limit. The current two year limit will fall away;
- confirming (finally) that an operator of operating plant can be a corporation or an individual;
- inserting an obligation for the executive safety manager to nominate an operator representative if the operator of operating plant is a corporation;
- inserting a provision so that if a person has not been appointed as site safety manager, the default site safety manager is the operator (if an individual) or the executive safety manager (if the operator is a corporation);
- inserting a provision requiring the executive safety manager to provide information to the chief inspector about who are the key statutory position holders (operator, executive safety manager and if relevant, operator’s representative) for the operating plant;
- amending an obligation on operators responsible for compliance with the SMS and on site safety managers to require the individual “take all reasonable steps” rather than “ensure”; and
- amending the primary duty so that it clearly applies whether the person is at the operating plant or not.
The Bill was initially introduced into Parliament last year, but as it hadn’t been passed before the dissolution of Parliament for the election, the Bill lapsed. The Queensland Government re-introduced the Bill into the Parliament last week with minimal changes to the 2017 version.