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Evaluating mine safety legislation in Queensland

CollectionsANU School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet)
Title: Evaluating mine safety legislation in Queensland
Author(s): Gunningham, Neil
Keywords: Queensland
statutory changes
mine safety legislation
Publisher: The Australian National University, The National Research Centre for OHS Regulation (NRCOHSR)
Series/Report no.: Working Paper (National Research Centre for OHS Regulation (NRCOHSR), The Australian National University) ; No. 42
For historical and arguably pragmatic reasons, the mining industry in Queensland has always been the subject of a separate OHS regulatory regime, enforced by an independent mines inspectorate. One consequence of this separation of mining from mainstream OHS has been to isolate the industry from legislative and regulatory developments elsewhere. What became regarded as “best practice regulation” as regards OHS generally was largely ignored by the mining sector, its policy makers and its regulators, who continued to adopt forms of regulation which “mainstream” regulators had long rejected as unlikely to reduce levels of work related injury and disease to anything approaching acceptable levels.2 However belatedly, all this is now changing. Statutory changes were made in Queensland in 1999 with the introduction of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (QLD) (CMSHA 1999) and the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 (QLD) (MQSHA 1999). It is these statutes that are the principal subject matter of this working paper, which has three purposes: (i) to provide an overview of the traditional approach to mine safety regulation and its limitations; (ii) to describe the main features of the new generation of mine safety legislation in Queensland; and (iii) to critically evaluate contemporary arrangements and identify what further reforms may be desirable. However, it does not purport to address either the role of worker participation, or enforcement and penalties.


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