Mine Safety Advisory Council background
The NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council (MSAC) was established in 1998 following recommendations made in the Mine Safety Review and Gretley Inquiry.
MSAC provides the NSW Minister for Resources and Energy with advice on critical work, health and safety (WHS) issues of importance to the NSW government. The Minister refers these matters to MSAC for consideration and requests advice on appropriate ways to foster improved WHS performance in the mining and extractives industry.
MSAC’s terms of reference were strengthened in 2006 to increase the emphasis on safety and health within the mining industry by reviewing and analysing safety performance, setting strategic directions, providing advice and developing policy recommendations.
At that time the Minister strengthened the role and capacity of MSAC by:
- the appointment of an independent chairman and two independent experts in WHS
- setting up a secretariat within the structure of NSW Department of Industry
- making resources available, when appropriate through the department, on MSAC’s recommendation to explore issues and commission research..
MSAC includes an independant chairman and senior officials from some of the most respected bodies in the mining industry including the CFMEU (Mining and Energy Division), Australian Workers Union, NSW Minerals Council, Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia and the NSW Department of Industry Resources Regulator. Two independent experts in work health and safety have also been members of MSAC since the 2006 review recommendations were acted on by the government.
Actions for world-leading WHS to 2017
The Actions to 2017 focuses on significant work, health and safety issues through five strategic action areas that were identified by surveying stakeholders, conducting research and considering issues through a regular strategic planning process, undertaken by MSAC members. The five strategic areas are:
- effective regulatory approach
- communication that improves safety and health
- measuring WHS culture and performance
- WHS continuous improvement
The government may look to the council for advice and strategic direction on a range of issues including:
- completion of work undertaken by MSAC and NSW Trade & Investment flowing from recommendations from reviews
- the mining industry WHS vision agreed by stakeholders at the 2008 CEO WHS Culture Summit
- the roll-out of the new WHS legislative framework
- National Mine Safety Strategy Framework
- Engagement of industry sector advisory committees
- industry performance measures and reporting
The NSW government’s vision is for MSAC to operate in an environment of trust and co-operation to address these issues and that all stakeholders demonstrate a willingness to support the work of the council and move forward on mutual matters of importance as one group.
MSAC meets on average four times per year (with working groups and specific committees meeting between those times) and holds at least one meeting per year in a regional mining area.