15/04/2010 - 14:32

State slugs resources $35m for safety

15/04/2010 - 14:32

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WA Mines Minister Norman Moore says the government aims to raise around $35 million a year for the state's new safety system, predominately from levies charged for each worker in the resources sector.

State slugs resources $35m for safety

WA Mines Minister Norman Moore says the government aims to raise around $35 million a year for the state's new safety system, predominately from levies charged for each worker in the resources sector.

The state government is currently working towards moving the current safety regulatory system to a cost recovery model, which has been adopted in New South Wales and Queensland.

The new safety system was first flagged in September last year following the death of a 30 year old man at Alcoa's Wagerup refinery, bringing the state's mining death toll up to that time, over the past 12 month, to six.

This week's death at BHP Billiton's nickel mine at Leinster again brought the issue of safety to light.

Mr Moore said the first piece of legislation with regard to the cost recovery model had already passed, with regulations associated with the legislation to be gazetted next week.

"We are continuing with a taskforce, chaired by Department of Mines and Petroleum, which will roll out the new system," he told reporters at a press conference today.

"While it will take a couple of years to reach the total conclusion of the roll out, I'm very confident we're heading towards a new safety system in Western Australia.

"As of next week or so, depending on when the regulations are gazetted, the companies will start to pay a levy and that levy will start to produce the revenue which will then enable us to employ the extra mine safety inspectors that we need.

"Going into the future, in the next 12 months we expect to employ another 37 inspectors, which will just about double the number of inspectors working for the mine safety section of the department.

"Beyond that it could be another 30 or so inspectors employed as well.

Mr Moore said close to $8 million was expected to be raised this year for the reforms, and about $30 million to $35 million a year is projected to be raised each year in the future.

"We have worked out what we believe is the appropriate level of service, the appropriate level of regulation that the government needs to provide and we've then worked out how much that's going to cost and determined the levy on the basis of that revenue.

"It'll be about $200 to $250 per worker per year, significantly less than in Queensland but enough in our view to provide the sort of regulatory regime that's necessary in WA."

The levy has been welcomed by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy, with president Kim Horne saying while the CME gets nervous whenever government thinks of taking money from industry, it had no problem with it if it was to be spent on improving safety in the sector.

 

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