SA Releases Draft Explosives Bill 2021

Monday 19 April 2021 @ 11.21 a.m. | Legal Research | Trade & Commerce

The SA Government has released the draft Explosives Bill 2021 (SA) ("the draft Bill") for public consultation. The proposed draft Bill seeks to replace the current Explosives Act 1936 (SA) ("the 1936 Act") and its associated regulations.

Reasons for Regulation of Explosives

Explosives are used for mining, construction, and defence purposes. However, explosives are also used in a variety of other activities, such as agriculture blasting, rock breaking, industrial tools, medical devices, fireworks and special effects in the entertainment industry.

Given its wide range of uses, the regulation of explosives seeks to ensure  an appropriate levels of safety and security through all associated activities, including its manufacture, transport, storage, and use. The purpose of the 1936 Act has been to regulate the handling and access of explosives to protect public health and safety, property, and the environment. Since the 1936 Act commenced, only limited amendments have been made, raising stakeholder concerns that current legislation does not reflect current best practice and advances in technology that may significantly improve safety in the industry.

Key Objectives of the draft Bill

The draft Bill is designed to enable:

  • a greater focus on safety and security;
  • a consistent and streamlined authorisation process;
  • a consistent and streamlined licencing framework;
  • clarification of mutual recognition;
  • a nationally agreed definition of explosives;
  • consistency with other states and territories; and
  • a reduction in the complexity and volume of regulations associated with the explosives legislation in SA.

Overview of the Draft Bill

The draft Bill proposes to repeal and replace the current 1936 Act and associated regulation. The draft Bill also seeks to incorporate the four nationally agreed key policy proposals. According to the draft Bill's Discussion paper ("the Discussion paper") these policy proposals were the result of significant national consideration driven by a 2012 decision of the Council of Australian Governments ("COAG") for national consistency in explosives regulation where clear benefits could be derived. The four nationally agreed key policy proposals are:

  • a definition of explosives;
  • a licencing framework;
  • notification processes; and
  • the explosives authorisation process.

According to the Discussion paper, the nationally agreed policy proposals are not model laws designed for identical implementation across jurisdictions, rather, they are agreed policies for respective jurisdictions to give effect to within their legislation. Currently, Queensland is the only jurisdiction to have amend its explosives legislation in accordance with the national policy proposals. The other jurisdictions, including SA, have indicated that they will enact amendments before 2022, when the Safe Work Australia's proposed review of the implementation of the national policy proposals is scheduled to commence.

In addition to the four national policy proposals, three fundamental principles have been considered in the creation of the draft Bill:

  • consistency with other states and territories;
  • reducing red tape and regulatory burden; and 
  • maintaining safety and security.

The draft Bill according to the Discussion paper, aims to appropriately balance the promotion of business interests while continuing to maintain the safety and security of the SA public.

Following public consultation, SafeWork SA is expected to publish a summary report and indicate any changes to be made to the draft Bill. The draft Bill is to be introduced into Parliament later in 2021. Supporting legislation is to be drafted once the draft Bill passes through Parliament and will be available for comments and feedback separately.

Consultation on the draft Bill is currently open on the YouSAy website.

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[Draft] Explosives Bill 2021 (SA) and supporting explanatory material available from TimeBase's LawOne Service

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