Delays in harmonising Australia’s occupational health and safety laws are hampering efforts to develop a national mine safety regime.
Releasing its final report on developing a seamless national economy, the COAG Reform Council said mine safety reforms are aiming to establish a blanket health and safety regime for the Australian mining industry.
To achieve this, COAG said state governments have agreed to implement the National Mine Safety Framework which includes standardised laws, training, codes of practice, enforcement, and data collection.
But a number of milestones set down for 2012-13 are now well overdue and after five years the reforms are still not finalised.
Last year it was expected safety laws and regulations would be enacted and a National Mine Safety Database would be up and running.
The National Mine Safety Database became operational on 1 July 2013, but no data has been entered into it.
“A number of governments have reported that the entry of data into the database is not required until the Occupational Health and Safety laws commence in their jurisdictions,” COAG stated.
“None have reported the entry of data into the database.”
The core mine safety provisions which are part of the broader national Work Health and Safety Regulations, administered by Safe Work Australia, have only been enacted by the Commonwealth, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
NSW has passed non-core mine safety laws but has not made the regulations that allow the laws to start.
The nation’s two largest mining states Queensland and Western Australia are yet to introduce the laws.