National Policy Proposals
Each jurisdiction in Australia has its own legislation and systems for the regulation of the lawful use of explosives.
To address inconsistencies between jurisdictions and realise benefits for both businesses and regulators, 4 nationally consistent policy proposals in explosives regulation have been developed. Work health and safety (WHS) Ministers gave in-principle support for these proposals in late 2018.
The Bill has been prepared in line with 4 nationally consistent policy proposals covered in the Bill summary.
These policy proposals were the result of significant national consideration driven by a 2012 decision of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) for national consistency in explosives regulation where clear benefits could be derived.
In March 2015, work health and safety (WHS) Ministers requested Safe Work Australia to undertake the work to harmonise explosives laws in Australia. This request was made, following the WHS harmonisation process, which commenced in South Australia on 1 January 2013.
As part of this process Safe Work Australia sought public comment between July and September 2015. This identified that the explosives industry was significantly impacted by the inconsistencies in the definition of explosives, licensing arrangements, notification processes and the explosives authorisation process. The variances have formed the basis of the national policy proposals.
Businesses operating across multiple jurisdictions reported that variations in regulations have increased the demand on administrative business practices and on the ability for explosives products and workers to work across jurisdictions. This has had a detrimental impact on resourcing, staff time, productivity, cost and the ability to compete for jobs across Australia.
At a national level Safe Work Australia in its Explosives Regulation in Australia: Decision Regulation Impact Statement estimated that the current explosives regulatory environment costs businesses approximately $22.76 million per annum in administrative processes. National consistency in explosives legislation could result in an estimated saving of $13.83 million per annum for businesses across Australia.
Greater consistency in explosives legislation would result in reduced uncertainty and administrative burden for businesses, improved competition and outputs across jurisdictions and increased certainty for businesses in their compliance activities.
In October 2016, WHS Ministers agreed to a preferred option from the Explosives Regulation in Australia: Decision Regulation Impact Statement. Safe Work Australia undertook the work to develop four nationally agreed policy proposals and WHS Ministers gave in-principle support for these proposals in late 2018.
South Australia has an ideal opportunity to implement changes to the outdated legislation that is currently in place and ensure that the new proposed legislation delivers the right balance between protecting community safety and making the red tape and regulatory burden for business less challenging.
The regulation making powers are set out in Part 8 of the Bill.
The Explosives Regulations (the Regulations) will be based on the national policy proposals and be developed once the Bill has successfully passed through Parliament.
No decision has been made at this time on whether a single set of regulations encompassing all matters will be drafted or if there will be several subject-specific sets.