Our role as regulator has resulted in the following significant achievements for 2018–19:

Don’t Duck Out, Make it SAFE

In response to the Western Australian Ombudsman’s Report recommendations to prevent child drownings, the department led and funded a national portable pool education campaign in partnership with the Royal Life Saving Society Australia.

In consultation with retailers, the department developed brochures, and created shelf wobblers and stickers. These were distributed through a national Trader Engagement program led by Western Australia, resulting in point-of-sale displays at 300 Target stores, plus Kmart and Big W stores nationally. In Western Australia, Clark Rubber, Red Dot, Bunnings, Outback and Toyworld stores also participated in the program.

Drowning-prevention ambassadors were recruited, including a Perth mother whose son died in 2017 from injuries sustained when he drowned in a portable pool.

Don’t Duck Out media launches were held in WA and Tasmania, and media releases were issued in other states. The resulting coverage on TV, radio and online reached more than half a million people. Videos were created along with a microsite at www.productsafety.gov.au/makeitsafe. The campaign videos were watched by more than 30,000 social media users. Thousands of parents and carers across Australia received campaign rubber ducks and fridge magnets to promote water safety messages. In WA, two large unfenced portable pools (drowning hazards) were dismantled through stakeholder engagement with local government authorities.

Code of practice for mentally healthy fly-in fly-out workplaces

On 2 April 2019, Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston launched Australia’s first code of practice “Mentally healthy workplaces for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers in the resources and construction sector”.

The code was developed in response to recommendations in a Legislative Assembly Committee report on the impact of FIFO practices on workers’ mental health.

Produced following extensive public consultation, the code will help organisations address psychosocial hazards and risk factors in FIFO workplaces in particular. It may also be useful for other working-away-from-home arrangements as well as general workplaces.

Generating public value through risk-based regulation – lecture and workshops

Working closely with the Director General, representatives from across the department organised presentations by Harvard Academic and internationally recognised expert on risk-based regulation design, Professor Malcolm Sparrow on the topic of “Generating public value through risk-based regulation”. The event was planned to support the Government’s regulatory reform agenda, including the Streamline WA initiative, and provide opportunities for other agencies to participate.

Professor Sparrow, presented at a breakfast meeting for public sector leaders, in collaboration with the Public Sector Commission and Department of Premier and Cabinet. He delivered a three-part lecture and workshop for DMIRS staff and other agencies and also spoke at an industry sundowner.

The Institute of Public Administration Australia (Western Australia) provided secretariat support and publicity for the lecture, which was pivotal in generating significant interest from across the public sector.

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Workshops were attended by close to 200 DMIRS staff, and 60 staff from other agencies. The feedback indicated the workshops were very relevant to the work being undertaken for regulatory reform. The workshops helped participants identify and understand some of the opportunities and challenges they will face as they progress their program of works, and operationalise what was learned during Professor Sparrow’s visit.

Importantly, pre and post-event surveys indicated significant shifts to a better understanding of the topics covered in the lecture.

Streamline WA: making it easier to do business in WA

The department is leading the way for regulatory reform with Streamline WA – a whole-of-government approach to make it easier to do business in Western Australia by improving regulation and regulatory practice.

Streamline WA brings government, industry and community representatives together to identify, prioritise and implement reform activities that reduce regulatory barriers, encourage investment and help businesses to prosper in WA.

Streamline WA is led by a Steering Committee, co-chaired by our Director General David Smith and Director General Mike Rowe of the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. The departments are working collaboratively to provide project direction, and project and secretariat support.

The initiative has achieved a number of milestones since it commenced in December 2018.

During an initial round of consultation, 26 reform proposals were received from across government and industry associations.

A review of these submissions identified mining environmental approvals and tourist attraction regulation as early priorities for reform. Public and private sector collaborative working groups are being established to deliver effective regulatory reform in these areas, with more proposals in the pipeline.

A website containing an online portal was launched on 27 June 2019 by the Premier of Western Australia to provide a convenient gateway for the public to submit their ideas for regulatory reform.

Establishment of the National Regulators Community of Practice - WA Chapter

The Western Australian Chapter of the National Regulators Community of Practice is a network of public sector regulators, regulatory policy makers and others with a scholarly or professional interest in regulation. Established by the department in 2018, the creation of the WA Chapter was a result of identifying an opportunity to develop a network focused on regulatory issues of interest and importance to the State.

As well as providing an ongoing forum for networking and engagement, the WA Chapter hosts three to four free events each year where leading regulatory scholars and/or practitioners present on a current regulatory topic of interest and benefit to practising regulators.

The WA Chapter has stimulated excellent discussion and debate around regulation in Western Australia, as well as providing excellent networking and engagement opportunities that were not readily available. The collaboration between regulatory agencies, and increasing professional and personal connections with officers of agencies who are involved in regulatory design and implementation will, over time, encourage innovation and continuous improvement in regulatory practice in the State.

Water services to individual strata sub-divisions

The department has developed a solution to a long-standing problem around the installation of underground water and sewerage services to individual lots on survey-strata subdivisions.

A change to the Water Corporation’s policy in 2015 meant developers only had to ensure there is an adequate connection to the corporation’s infrastructure for the whole subdivision, not each lot. This change in policy had, in some instances, led to significant unexpected plumbing costs to purchasers of survey-strata subdivision lots.

Through successful collaboration with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage; the WA Planning Commission; Landgate; and the Water Corporation, the department has proposed a solution to ensure purchasers of survey-strata lots do not face significant unexpected plumbing costs when building a house on the lot.

Amalgamation of industry safety awards

The Work Health and Safety Excellence Awards recognise outstanding solutions and innovations to specific workplace health and safety issues in Western Australia. Launched in April 2019, the new-look awards are an amalgamation and upgrade of awards previously presented by the former departments of Mines and Petroleum (Safety and Health Resources Sector Awards) and Commerce (Work Safety Awards).

Submissions were invited from individuals, associations, partnerships, companies and other organisations operating under safety legislation administered by DMIRS. In this inaugural year for the amalgamated awards, 69 submissions were received across five award categories.

Use of mine tailings as road fill

Main Roads WA identified an area of barren tailings from a former mineral sands mining operation as being suitable for all for a strategic road-building project.

DMIRS officers verified the tailings as safe to use as road fill following a field survey of tailings minerals and an analysis of samples.

Using the 300,000 cubic metres of mine tailings as road fill helps:

  • prevent depletion of sand materials in the south-west of the State;
  • save the State considerable expenditure in purchasing raw materials;
  • reduce freight costs for transporting fill materials;
  • reduce potential vehicle movements on already busy regional roads; and
  • reduce the carbon footprint of the road-building project.

DMIRS officers continue to provide specialist technical advice for the road-building project.