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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 312 asked in the Legislative Council on 4 April 2019 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Minister responding: Hon W.J. Johnston
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 4 April 2019

MENTAL HEALTH — FLY IN, FLY OUT CODE

312. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the minister representing the Minister for Mines and Petroleum:

I refer to the recently released Western Australian code of practice to help promote and maintain healthy workplaces for fly in, fly out workers in the resources and construction industries.

(1) Considering that this code of practice is not regulation, how does the government intend to ensure that the code is adopted?

(2) Does the government intend to track employer breaches of this code of practice?

(3) If yes to (2), how does the government intend to track all reports or psychosocial hazards, considering that types of reporting can include text messages and verbal discussions, and can be addressed either formally or informally?

(4) Through the release of this code of practice, does the government admit that if workers lived in the regions, it would in fact alleviate the psychosocial hazards brought on by FIFO work?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for the question. I know that she knows a lot about fly in, fly out work. The following information has been provided to me by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum.

(1) The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety will continue to be the regulator. The McGowan government has worked with unions and employers through the Commission for Occupational Safety and Health and the Mining Industry Advisory Committee, and we hope to work with them in the future to ensure that the code creates a positive outcome. We believe that this Australian-first code sets a benchmark for good practice and is the right step forward. Codes of practice are admissible in court proceedings. Courts may regard a code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control, and may rely on the code of practice in determining what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances related to the code.

(2) The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety will act and keep records of reported failures to apply the code and comply with related legislation.

(3) Employers and management have the primary duty to provide and maintain a working environment in which employees are not exposed to hazards. The code of practice provides advice and information about the standards of occupational safety and health required under legislation.

(4) The government expects employers to provide a genuine choice to production staff about whether they want to do FIFO. Production workers should be able to choose between residential and FIFO work arrangements, and should be able to do FIFO from regional centres if that suits their personal situation.