The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has welcomed the introduction of the Safe Work Australia Bill as an opportunity to establish a body to promote a national, uniform Occupational Health and Safety regulatory regime.
The MCA supports a single OH&S Act covering all sectors and jurisdictions and industry specific national regulations where required complemented by national codes of practice and guidelines.
There are currently 10 principal statutes — six state, two territory and two Commonwealth governing OH&S in Australia as well as other regulations and codes of practice.
This raft of overlapping OH&S laws, standards and requirements diverts business from the primary goal of improving workplace health and safety, according to the MCA.
The multi-layered regulatory regime also imposes a significant administrative burden on the minerals sector and adds unnecessary complexity to business operations. These problems are further amplified when businesses operate across multiple jurisdictions.
According to the MCA, a uniform safety bill is of paramount importance to the Australian minerals industry, as it will help regulate reporting and punishments.