Frequently asked questions about Safer Together Qld.

Members – who are they and how are they selected?

Q: How were the original 7 Contact Partner members selected to sit on the Safety Leaders Group (SLG)? Why select those particular companies and not others?

After the Safety Leadership Forum, held in November 2013, we realised that we needed to progress a new model of engagement quickly to maintain momentum.  So a number of senior leaders from the contracting community who indicated their support at the November 2013 Forum were invited to help get the process started. These leaders represent companies who collectively provide a broad cross-section of different services to the industry (e.g. drilling; logistics; operations and maintenance).

Q: How did you select the additional members to sit on the SLG? Who made the decision and what criteria did they use?

Nominations from the member companies were considered by the SLG Co-Chairs, who are responsible for selecting the additional members and submitting their recommendations to the SLG for endorsement. Selection criteria includes:

  1. The person represents a member company of Safer Together
  2. The person is of a suitably senior position within their company
  3. The type of service (e.g. logistics) is not represented on the SLG, or is under-represented.

Q: If my company isn’t selected to sit on the SLG, will we get the opportunity to nominate again at a later date?

Yes. The nominal term for SLG Contract Partner members is 2 years, after which we anticipate 50% of the members will be rotated. Nominations for new members will be sought each year at an Industry Safety Forum event.

Q: Besides Contract Partner Companies, why aren’t other stakeholders represented and invited to become members?

This is a new model of engagement for our industry. We think it’s important to focus first on bringing together the Operating Companies and Contract Partner Companies, to begin building the process and to get initial momentum. Our intention is to engage other stakeholders and encourage them to join in due course, but not yet.

Q: The twice yearly Forum is an invitation only event – how do you decide the list of companies to invite?

With regard to Operating Companies, it’s important to involve all companies with Natural Gas Exploration & Production activities in Queensland (not just the major Queensland Natural Gas Exploration and Production proponent companies).

With regard to Contract Partner Companies, we focus on companies that are likely to play a long-term role in the development of the industry (not just during the Construction Phase) and that provide services which pose a relatively high level of inherent safety risk. And most importantly, we want to build long-term partnerships with companies who are aligned with our industry’s safety vision and strategy.


Fees - what will it cost me?

Q: Why are you asking Contract Partner Companies to contribute to the costs? Why don’t the Operating Companies pay for this?

At the Safety Leadership Forum held in November 2013, attended by many of the people here today, the contracting community indicated a clear desire for a more collaborative approach to developing safety improvements. A clear message was delivered to Operating Companies “If you want us to be partners in this process, we want to be treated like partners and to have a seat at the table”.

So we have now set up the structures and processes to enable this to happen, but it requires time and money to make it work (e.g. organising SLG meetings; setting up and running the Working Groups; holding Forum events; on-going member communications; etc.)

If we can get this right, all of our companies – Operators and Contractors alike – will benefit.

Q: How did you decide the membership fees?

We used the Step Change in Safety (UK) model as a reference point to develop the fee structure – there are different fees for different sized companies.

The fees for 2014 were developed to provide the “seed funding” required to cover the estimated costs of initial set-up and support resourcing for the SLG and Working Groups in the first year, x2 Forum events (one in Q2-2014, and another in Q4-2014), and initial member communications (e.g. develop a website and member database).

In addition to the 12 companies represented by the original SLG members, we estimate that we will require another 20-30 member companies to fund the first year.

Q: Will the annual membership fees remain at the same level from one year to the next?

Our intention is to minimise variation in annual fees after the first year (the 2014 fees will not include resource requirements to fund implementation of each Working Group’s work programme, but from 2015 onwards they will).

The proposed fees for 2015 will be tabled and discussed with members at the next Forum in Q4-14, and each year thereafter. If there are funds remaining at the end of a particular year, they will be rolled into the following year and the member fees adjusted downwards accordingly.

Q: Do the larger companies who pay higher membership fees get more for their membership than the smaller companies who pay less?

No. Members are divided into categories solely for the purpose of determining the annual fee to be paid. Members rank equally in all other respects.
Members are not obliged to continue their membership from one year to the next.


Expectations – what will I need to do and how will this benefit me?

Q: Besides paying our annual membership fee, what else is my company expected to do if we decide to become a member?

You can decide to participate as much, or as little as you wish. But members will get more value out of the process the more they put in. Some member companies may decide that their involvement will be limited only to attending the 2 major Forums we plan to hold each year. But we want all member companies to consider getting actively involved in the various Working Groups – we need a critical mass of the right type of people in each of these Groups to make them effective.

Most importantly all members will be expected to support and promote what the Forum is aiming to achieve, and to implement within their own companies the industry-wide tools and processes that are developed through the Forum.

Q: How much time should we allow if we join one of the Groups?

The SLG will meet every 2 months in Brisbane. The Working Groups will meet monthly in Brisbane.

It is essential that members commit to attending the scheduled meetings, and that the same person attends each time.

Q: How will becoming a member benefit my company? Why should we join?

Membership gives your company the opportunity to drive the safety agenda for the industry through involvement in the bi-annual Forums, the Safety Leaders Group and the Working Groups. You can help decide and influence how we move our industry forward over the next few decades.

Members will also have access to the tools and materials developed.

Q: What are the implications for my company if we decide not to become a member? Do we really have a choice?

Alignment of our companies is fundamental for building long-term partnerships – we need to be pulling in the same direction when tackling safety.

Safer Together will develop industry-wide solutions that will eventually become the standard for our industry and implementation by all companies working in the industry will be required, regardless of whether or not those companies are members of this Forum.


Process - how does it operate and will it work?

Q: What is the ownership and governance structure of this Forum?

It will operate as an Incorporated Association in the State of Queensland. It will be a separate legal entity established as a not-for-profit, member-led organisation. It is not an Operator-led Forum, because this is what you asked for.

An Incorporated Association and its members are legally separate. The Incorporated Association will be required by law to: appoint a public officer; have a registered office in QLD; develop a Set of Rules and act in accordance with them; lodge an annual statement; keep proper financial records; prepare, have audited and lodge financial statements; and keep a register of members.

Q: These types of processes have a tendency to get bogged down with lots of meetings and good intentions, but not much practical action – why should we believe that will this be any different?

This will be driven by the most senior in-country leader of each participating company, not by the HSE Managers. That is why invitees to Forum events are Managing Directors, Chief Operating Officers, Regional Directors and Business Owners.

The SLG will manage the overall process, including approving and monitoring the activities and deliverables of the Working Groups. Also, a minimum of one Champion for each Working Group will be drawn from the SLG members.

Q: Why do you think this process is going to work? Has it been done before?

Yes, it is a model that has been successfully adopted by the oil and gas industry in other parts of the world (e.g. Step Change in Safety – UK; Oil Sands Safety Association - Canada) and we can learn much from other industry sectors in Australia (e.g. QLD Resources Council). So this is not a new concept – we know it can work, but only if there is a genuine commitment to it by all parties.

Q: Why do you think we need this new organisation?

The priority safety challenges facing our industry are not the same as the safety challenges facing the offshore industry (e.g. Land Transport), and the characteristics of some activities that may be perceived to be quite similar are in fact quite different (e.g. Onshore Drilling v Offshore Drilling).

Our intention is not to create another layer of industry conferences and meetings. The SLG intends that ultimately the bi-annual Safer Together Forum event will be the only senior management led contractor safety forum within the industry in Queensland, to improve efficiency.

Q: You’ve set some very ambitious goals and targets – what do you think are the biggest challenges you face and how do you intend to overcome them?

  • Build a Community of Leaders who are motivated to make this work. Open dialogue, inclusivity and frequent communication are how we will tackle this challenge.
  • Ensure that the Working Groups deliver within a reasonable period of time practical, effective solutions that have industry-wide application. Recruiting the right people for these Groups, setting clear and deliverables-focused expectations of each Group, and regular monitoring and oversight by the SLG are how we will tackle this challenge.
  • Maintain alignment across member companies - to free up the resources within their company to be active and regular participants in the Working Groups, and to commit to implementing within each member company the processes/tools that the Working Groups develop. The personal commitment of each of you here today is the key to how we will tackle this challenge.

Q: How will we share findings with the wider Queensland Natural Gas Exploration & Production industry community?

The first phase of our Communications Plan is focused on the specific companies and representatives of those companies that attended the November 2013 and May 2014 Forums. The next phase of our Communications Plan will also target senior leaders of other companies in our industry who are not represented at these Forums, the Working Group members and HSE Managers of member companies, and Industry Associations. Then we will target other stakeholders, including regulators.

Our website will be a key communications tool that will make it easier to share information with all members and also the wider industry community.

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