Mineral and Energy Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020
The Mineral and Energy Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced into the Queensland Parliament on 4 February 2020. The Bill has been referred to the State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee for detailed consideration.
The Bill’s proposed reforms are intended to:
- strengthen the safety culture in the resources sector
- improve financial assurance and support mine rehabilitation
- improve the administration and effectiveness of the regulatory framework applying to resource projects.
Safety and health
The Bill strengthens the safety culture in the resources sector through the introduction of industrial manslaughter.
Under the proposed laws, senior officers and corporations can be tried for industrial manslaughter if criminal negligence is proven for a workers’ death.
The proposed legislation is consistent with existing offences under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and will provide consistent treatment of criminal negligence.
Appointments to safety statutory roles
The Bill also amends the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 to clarify that a person must be an employee of a coal mine operation to be appointed as a statutory office holder.
These positions are safety critical roles on mine sites and are important in managing risks to the safety and health of coal mine workers.
Financial assurance and mine rehabilitation
The amendments will support ongoing reforms to financial assurance and mine rehabilitation. They address some of the recommendations made in the Queensland Treasury Corporation’s Review of Queensland’s Financial Assurance Framework (PDF, 1.5MB) released in April 2017 and feedback received from consultations.
The amendments include:
- increased scrutiny around the financial capability of a resource authority holder when there is a change in ownership
- increased oversight of resource sites that enter care and maintenance by requiring significant mineral mining lease holders to submit plans on their proposed activities
- broadening the government’s authorised person powers for abandoned mines and abandoned operating plant to make them safe, durable, secure and enable productive land uses.
The Bill also includes the following complementary financial assurance reforms:
- disqualification criteria for tenure applicants to strengthen the government’s ability to assess their suitability to hold tenure in Queensland
- tendering areas for a mining lease application, which will allow the targeted release of sites that have been abandoned if an opportunity to commercialise a potentially economic mineral resource exists.
Several amendments included in the Bill will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of resource assessment processes. These include:
- creating a process to resolve commercial disputes where certain mining lease applicants cannot secure the agreement of the pre-existing tenure holders
- creating notifiable dealings in Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014, for non-assessable transfers that occur by operation of law
- consolidating conference provisions throughout the resource Acts in the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014
- allowing Petroleum Act 1923 tenures to be amalgamated at the time they transition into the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004
- allowing petroleum leases to be counted for relinquishment requirements
- allowing certain documents to be served electronically rather than in hard copy.
Last updated 5 February 2020