Western Australia eases formal procedures amid COVID-19

Western Australia is set to streamline administrative procedures to encourage more individuals and businesses to use government online services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) will accept electronic signatures on documents which are not required to be witnessed or sworn, with other tenement-related documents to be emailed where possible.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) of Western Australia’s chief executive Paul Everingham said it had approached Western Australia’s Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston and DMIRS for a new approach once it became evident that lodging physical documents and requiring “wet” signature was no longer feasible.

“The public health response to COVID-19 has included increased work from home and physical distancing requirements, which made preparing, signing and sending documents through the post very difficult and onerous for members,” he said.

“Now that DMIRS is moving to a expand the use of electronic approaches, Western Australian resources companies can now carry out their administrative business with the department in a safer, more efficient manner, including lodging applications linked to tenement applications and other approvals.”

Johnston said the measures were put in place in response to industry feedback to better support the mining sector during COVD-19.

“The mining sector has been co-operative and compliant in response to the measures the government has put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the minister said.

“Maintaining a strong resources sector will be critical in ensuring our state and the wider Australian economy are well-positioned to bounce back when the global economy recovers from this pandemic.”

The announcement came after the Western Australian Government announced that it would reduce the mines safety levy by 20 per cent starting July.

The levy, which funds safety and health regulatory services for the state’s mining industry, will be reduced from 21 cents to 17 cents per billable hour.

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