WA resources regulator takes collaborative approach to coronavirus containment

Thursday, 9 April, 2020 - 18:45
Policy & legislation
Western Australia

Western Australia’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) is working with key resources sector stakeholders to enable the agency to support the sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regular meetings are being held with representative bodies including the Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Australia, the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, and the Amalgamated Prospectors and Leaseholders Association to identify and discuss key priorities and emerging issues.

In addition, a cross-government meeting regime has been established with representatives from the Departments of Water and Environmental Regulation, Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, and DMIRS with key companies to have an ongoing dialogue on operational status and how government can support resource companies in the immediate period with approval and assessment priorities.

Input from stakeholder groups and industry forms a vital part of a coordinated State and Federal Government approach to responding to the challenges of COVID-19, said DMIRS resource and environmental regulation group deputy director general Phil Gorey.

Consultation with industry will continue to occur regularly during the coming weeks and months, he said.

“The implementation of health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus is the top priority in this evolving situation but the maintenance of resource sector operations is also a key focus,” said Gorey.

“On a national level, Federal and State resources ministers have convened the Resources National Coordination Mechanism to bring together senior resources business leaders, and senior personnel from across government and industry bodies.

“The ministers recognise that maintaining a strong resources sector will be critical in ensuring that communities and the wider Australian economy is well-positioned to bounce back when the global economy recovers from this pandemic.”

Gorey said there is a strong commitment across the resources industry to developing and sustaining robust COVID-19 coronavirus management plans that adhere to government health advice.

The resources sector has well-established risk management, emergency management and business continuity plans but the COVID-19 pandemic brings with it many new challenges, Gorey added.

“Government restrictions around the movement of people and closure of borders are part of the response to the pandemic but there are currently exemptions for workers who are deemed to be essential,” he said.