Under the RHSQ Act, the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor (WHS Prosecutor) will be utilised to prosecute safety and health offences under the Resources Safety Acts, which comprise of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld), the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld), the Explosives Act 1999 (Qld) and the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (Qld). Only the WHS prosecutor can prosecute serious offences under the Resources Safety Acts, while other offences may be prosecuted by the WHS prosecutor or the Chief Executive Officer of RSHQ.
The RHSQ Act explanatory notes purport that the utilisation of the WHS Prosecutor will, amongst other things, enhance independent, transparent, effective and efficient prosecutions resulting in 'improved prosecution outcomes'. We consider that the RSHQ Act signals a clear intent to increase mining prosecutions with more significant penalties being sought.
Commencement of the changes referred to above will occur once the RSHQ Act has been proclaimed (published in the government gazette). We will provide a further update once this occurs.
If you require further information or have any queries in relation to this legal update, please contact Matthew Smith, Damian Hegarty, Mason Fettell or a member of our Safety team who can assist.