NEW safety legislation has been introduced to protect people who work on offshore oil and gas projects in Commonwealth waters. 

Minister for resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King has introduced legislation to parliament to implement the changes, following a review of the offshore safety regime by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources. 

“Worker health and safety is a top priority for the Australian government and our resources sector,” Ms King said.  

“Nothing is more important than ensuring that every worker can come home safely at the end of a swing. 

“The government will always support a strong and resilient resources sector. Together, we have an obligation to ensure the health and safety of the men and women who work on offshore projects.” 

Ms King said the changes would implement the outcomes of the safety review and better align provisions of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 with Commonwealth work health and safety laws. 

The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Legislation Amendment (Safety and Other Measures) Bill 2024 would strengthen the role and training of health and safety representatives and allow health and safety representatives to request a review of safety management documents. 

It would also aim to improve worker protection against discrimination and coercion and clarify the definition of health in Australia’s offshore legislation to include physical and psychological health. 

And, it aims to improve health and safety rules for diving operations and dive vessels and strengthen and simplify reporting requirements for serious injury notifications. 

“Offshore safety rules and regulations are not set and forget. The government will continue to review and update the rules and legislation for the health and safety of workers in offshore industries,” Ms King said. 

“The government will shortly commence a new offshore safety review to identify further opportunities to harmonise the offshore petroleum safety regime with our national work health and safety laws.” 

The government will spend $12 million to review Australia’s offshore environmental management framework to ensure its regulatory system is fit for purpose for a decarbonising economy.  

The legislation introduced proposes additional technical amendments that enable the Australian government to adopt future policy recommendations from the offshore environmental management review.