23rd March 2020

The following provides an update on the COVID-19 situation as it relates to the NSW mining and petroleum industry.

Regulatory activities

The NSW Resources Regulator has implemented a response plan to manage the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This plan is consistent with the advice from NSW Health and the broader NSW government approach and takes into account the specific considerations which reflect our operational model.

  • The incident reporting hotline (1300 814 609) will remain operational on a 24/7 basis, under all currently foreseeable circumstances.
  • Our mine assessment activities and response to critical incidents and emergencies at mine sites will continue on a limited basis, subject to an ongoing assessment of risk.
  • Other activities coordinated by the Resources Regulator such as conferences, forums, and training courses are being moved to alternate methods of delivery, such as via video-conferencing where possible, or are otherwise being deferred where appropriate. Where these activities are cancelled or postponed, we will make every attempt to provide this advice in a timely manner.
  • Licensing, registration and other approval activities are continuing as normal.

Regulatory obligations/Compliance issues

  • We understand that as the COVID-19 situation progresses some operators may experience increasing difficulties in meeting some regulatory obligations.
  • If you are anticipating or experiencing issues with complying with your regulatory obligations, please contact us as soon as you become aware.
  • We will take a reasonable and pragmatic approach to issues as they arise - provided that worker safety is not compromised.

Advice to industry

  • Keep up-to-date with NSW Health advice in regard to controls to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including any restrictions on normal business activities and respond accordingly.
  • You should also prepare or review your business continuity plans. Information on business continuity planning can be found here https://www.business.gov.au/New-to-business-essentials/When-things-dont-go-to-plan
  • If there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your place of business you should seek advice from NSW Health.
  • While COVID-19 is not a notifiable illness, we request that you inform us immediately by calling 1300 814 609. This would not require the provision of personal details of the person(s) affected. This is important not only to protect our staff but also to reduce the likelihood of further inadvertent transmission of the virus.

Your obligations

  • Under NSW WHS laws, employers must have measures in place to eliminate or manage the risks arising from COVID-19.
  • To do this, you should keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 information and advice to ensure that any action taken is appropriate. This includes closely monitoring the information provided by the NSW Health and the Australian Government
  • You will not be able to completely eliminate the risk of workers contracting COVID-19 while carrying out work. However, you must do all that is reasonably practicable to minimise that risk.
  • SafeWork Australia has detailed information on what you can do meet your obligations: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-employers

As you can appreciate the COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly and we will keep you informed of any significant developments that specifically affect the NSW mining and petroleum industry or our regulatory operations.