First Enforceable Undertaking for new NSW Resources Regulator
9 August 2016
The NSW Department of Industry’s Resources Regulator today announced that it has accepted enforceable undertakings from KEPCO Bylong Australia Pty Limited and WorleyParsons Services Pty Limited following the Regulator’s investigation into both companies for allegedly providing false information under section 378C of the Mining Act 1992.
In March 2016, the Department commenced prosecution action against both companies for providing false information in relation to a Surface Disturbance Notice Application to the Division of Resources and Energy (DRE) in relation to proposed exploration activities associated with the Bylong Coal Project (Authorisation 342).
Both companies acknowledged that the six supplied photographs were not photographs of the proposed locations, and have agreed to enforceable undertakings in lieu of continued prosecution. The maximum penalty for providing false or misleading information was $55,000 at the time of the alleged offence.
The undertaking requires both companies to pay the investigation and legal costs of more than $94,000, to enhance their compliance, audit and training programs, and to provide additional education and support on regulatory obligations.
In addition WorleyParsons is also required to engage an independent auditor to undertake a review of previous work submitted to ensure its compliance with the Mining Act. This could not have been achieved as part of a prosecution.
“An alternative to prosecution, an enforceable undertaking may be accepted when significantly better compliance outcomes can be achieved through an agreement with those involved,” said the NSW Resources Regulator’s Chief Compliance Officer, Lee Shearer.
“The enforceable undertakings given by KEPCO and WorleyParsons, will achieve this outcome as it addresses the behaviour that led to the alleged contravention and provides tangible benefits to the community and industry.”
“These cases serve as a timely reminder to authorisation holders and their agents that they must have systems in place to ensure the accuracy of information provided to the DRE. It is also worth noting that we work with the community who also provide us with relevant information and on this occasion raised concerns which have led to this undertaking,” Ms Shearer said.
“DRE assesses all applications it receives and undertakes regular audits to ensure the integrity and veracity of the information that is provided. This regulatory oversight protects the industry and community and underpins legislation and policy settings. Our regulatory activities balance sector development, environmental protection, community expectations and ensure the benefits of the resources industry are shared across the state.”
Both companies must report on their compliance with the undertaking and reimburse the Regulator’s costs in monitoring compliance.
“Adherence to the undertakings will be strictly monitored, with both companies paying for the cost of that monitoring, and severe penalties of up to $1.1 million apply if they do not comply,” said Ms Shearer.
Copies of the undertakings are available on the Enforcement actions web page.