Maintaining high standards of occupational health and safety in the State's mining and petroleum industries will remain one of the principal roles of the Department of Minerals and Energy.
Mines Minister Gordon Hill said today that, although Productivity and Labour Relations Minister Yvonne Henderson would take ultimate administrative responsibility for occupational health and safety in the mining industry from January 1, it would be `business as usual' for the Department of Minerals and Energy's mines inspectorate.
He said the inspectorate would remain with the Department of Minerals and Energy.
"However, the Director General of the Department, Dr Des Kelly, would formally report to the Minister for Productivity and Labour Relations on all matters relating to the health and safety of those working in the mining industry," Mr Hill said.
"This will give Mrs Henderson overall responsibility for the administration of health and safety legislation applying to the mining industry throughout Western Australia.
"This change will allow both the Department of Minerals and Energy, and the Department of Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare to co-operate in a more effective manner and to share their resources," he said.
"The move is consistent with the State Government's commitment to achieving continued improvement in the industry's safety performance.
"It also reflects the recommendations made by the former chief commissioner of the WA Industrial Relations Commission, Eric Kelly, who last year handed down a special report on occupational health and safety in the mining industry."
The Director General of Minerals and Energy, Dr Des Kelly, said he and his department would work closely with Mrs Henderson and the Department of Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare to ensure a continued improvement in standards of safety within the industry.
He said there had already been a substantial improvement in the safety performance of the mining industry and he and his department were totally committed to continuing the improvements.