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Australia – Proposed Amendments To Queensland Mining Safety Laws.

4 November, 2013

 

Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Australia – Energy & Project Finance

 

Potential impact on Receivers and Insolvency Practitioners


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

 

  • The Queensland Government’s “Mine Safety Framework Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement” (RIS) proposes to amend the State’s mine safety legislation to require receivers to provide mine plans to the mines inspectorate within 7 days of their appointment.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

 

  • Receivers and insolvency practitioners should consider the proposed changes.
  • Submissions in response to the proposals contained in the RIS close on 11 November 2013.
  • You should keep abreast of future legislative amendments regarding Queensland’s mining safety laws.

On Wednesday 11 September 2013, the Queensland Government released “Queensland’s Mine Safety Framework Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement” (RIS). As outlined in a previous Ashurst Safety Matters Alert, of 18 September 2013, the RIS proposes amendments to Queensland’s coal and metalliferous mining legislation. It reflects changes identified as part of the National Mine Safety Framework, OHS harmonisation and other issues identified by the mines inspectorate.


Potential Impact On Receivers And Insolvency Practitioners


An aspect of the RIS, which if implemented, will have an impact on insolvency practitioners is the proposal to require receivers to provide mine plans to the mines inspectorate.
The RIS proposes imposing a requirement that should a mine operator be placed into receivership, then the operator and the receiver have an obligation to give plans showing the extent of operations to the inspectorate within 7 days of the commencement of the receivership.


Whilst not expressly outlined in the RIS, it is foreseeable that penalties would apply for any non-compliance with this obligation. The current penalty for non-compliance by a mine’s site senior executive is $11,000. The RIS also proposes increases to the penalty regimes under both the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 and the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999.


Scope Of Changes


The new provisions are intended to ensure that the inspectorate has a record of the location and extent of workings at an abandoned or temporarily non-operational mine and as a consequence an understanding of any ongoing safety and health issues that may need to be addressed. With this in mind, while the RIS only considers receivership, it is likely that the scope of the changes will extend to any form of company administration. Particularly, it is expected that the changes will apply if it is contemplated that operations at a mine will continue whilst the operator is under administration.


Draft Legislation


The position will be clearer when the proposed amendments to the legislation are drafted and released. This is expected to occur in the first half of 2014.


The public are invited to make submissions in response to the RIS. Submissions are to be made by 11 November 2013.

 

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For further information, please contact:

 

Vince Rogers, Partner, Ashurst
 vince.rogers@ashurst.com

 

John Lobban, Partner, Ashurst
john.lobban@ashurst.com

 

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