Our role as policy maker resulted in the following significant achievements for 2018–19:

Consultation on work health and safety reform

The WA Government has committed to bringing all WA workplaces under a single modernised Work Health and Safety Act, based on the national model Work Health and Safety Bill.

Extensive consultation to develop the new laws is a State Government priority. Following the work done by the Ministerial Advisory Panel in the first phase of the consultation process, the department conducted the second stage seeking public comment on the 43 recommendations made by the Ministerial Advisory Panel regarding the Bill, along with an additional recommendation from the Minister’s office.

The public consultation paper was released on 1 July 2018. Officers from the department delivered information sessions across the State to accompany the release of the paper.

The WA community had two months to provide feedback, with 66 submissions received by 7 September 2018.

The feedback received through this process is informing the Government’s decisions in relation to the proposed new Work Health and Safety laws.

New family violence tenancy laws commence

View Highlight

Inquiry into wage theft in Western Australia

DMIRS provided support for the Inquiry into Wage Theft in Western Australia, announced by the Minister for Industrial Relations in January 2019. The Inquiry was undertaken by Mr Tony Beech, former Chief Commissioner of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

As well as preparing material used to approve the establishment of the Inquiry, extensive secretariat support was provided to the Inquirer, such as launching and promoting the inquiry to the community, managing the submissions process, preparing submission summaries, and assisting with preparation of the inquiry report.

The inquiry report was provided to the Minister in June 2019.

Cyber and Information Security Management framework

DMIRS depends heavily on information and communications technology (ICT), with cyber security being a critical component within the ICT machinery. The department is widely recognised as a leading agency in the application of cyber security within the business and government, both from a strategic and operational perspective.

The DMIRS Cyber and Information Security Management (CISM) Framework and Cyber Security Policy was endorsed by the Director General on the 16 November 2018. The CISM Framework provides the department with the ability to consistently manage cyber security principles, policies and practices in one place. The goal of the framework is to minimise risk exposure and ensure business continuity by limiting the impact of a security incident through the proactive identification and treatment of cyber security threats to our information and ICT systems.

The DMIRS CISM Framework and Cyber Security policy has been well-received by the Office of Digital Government and is recognised as providing a good example to other agencies. DMIRS is considered a valuable member of WA Government’s Cyber Security Working Group and is also a partner member of the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

Independent scientific hydraulic fracture stimulation

On 27 November 2018, following careful consideration of the Independent Scientific Panel Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation in Western Australia Report, the State Government announced a raft of new, world-class controls to ensure risks associated with hydraulic fracturing are low and manageable.

A Senior Officials Steering Group (SOSG) was formed to develop the Implementation Plan. The Plan is designed to address the inquiry’s recommendations and the Government’s decisions relating to hydraulic fracture stimulation, and oversee the implementation of actions. DMIRS and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) co-chair the SOSG and the Implementation Working Group (IWG).

The DMIRS-DWER partnership has seen the two agencies work collaboratively with the members of the SOSG. The co-location of staff at times assisted in delivering the Government’s Plan.

Continued interagency collaboration will be critical during the implementation phase to implement reforms across a number of State Government agencies.

DMIRS provides secretariat support for both the SOSG and IWG, and leads the implementation project with DWER, under the direction of the SOSG.

Development of a Potash industry in Western Australia

Potash is vital for agriculture, providing the essential potassium and sulphur required to increase yield; nourish and protect crops from pests and disease; and improve water retention. While Western Australia has abundant potash resources – present in its large salt lakes and brine groundwater resources – there are currently no potash production projects within Australia. Consequently, the need to import potash results in higher prices for farmers.

Given the high global demand for potash fertiliser, Western Australia is well placed to develop a new potash industry. However, as potash is dissolved within vast salt lake and brine groundwater resources, the mining tenures required would extend over areas ten to 20 times larger than those under tenure for conventional mining operations within Western Australia. As rent is calculated on a per hectare basis, the annual mining lease rental costs for these projects would be much higher by comparison with other mining operations.

In 2018, the Western Australian Government committed to assisting the development of a new potash industry in Western Australia by reducing the fixed cost imposed by government to a level more comparable with other conventional mining operations.

On 24 May 2019, the Mining Regulations 1981 were amended to introduce a reduced rental rate for mining leases, restricted to minerals dissolved in brine deposits, including potash. It is anticipated that this will stimulate the mineral sector, assist the development of a new industry, and create employment and community development opportunities for Western Australians.

DMIRS scientist wins prestigious international award

View Highlight