Greens call for urgent judicial inquiry on mining safety

17th June 2010 - The Greens say that the Barnett Government is going in entirely the wrong direction on mining workers’ safety and that the State needs an urgent judicial inquiry.  The party made the call during debate today on a motion moved by the ALP in the State’s Upper House.

“We do not support the position of the Minister for Mines when he said, in estimates yesterday, that he wanted "to get away from the very strict regulatory safety regime that has existed in the past",” said Greens employment spokesperson Alison Xamon MLC.

“Recent mining deaths, ‘near misses’ and safety-related bullying demonstrate that better regulation is needed, not for the Government to step back from its responsibilities for worker safety.”

Ms Xamon has already given notice to introduce a Bill to tighten up Occupational Health and Safety laws and introduce the offence of Industrial Manslaughter.

“We urge the Minister to immediately provide for extra Mines inspectors and instruct these and existing officers to carry out a rigorous review of all mines in Western Australia to ensure that all are operating with occupational health and safety as their primary concern,” said mining spokesperson Robin Chapple.

“All three major Parties supported the need for more Mines Inspectors and the need for Industry to contribute towards funding this, however simply increasing the number of Mines Inspectors is not the silver bullet,” added Mr Chapple.

“In the past 12 years there have been 3 reviews of the Mines Act and multiple inquiries, the solutions are well documented and now is the time for the political will to implement them. There must be a multi faceted and mandated approach to mines safety,” said Ms Xamon.

“As such, the Greens call for an urgent judicial inquiry in order to pull together the consistent recommendations, create an action plan and importantly a time frame for implementation and action.”

“It is time for all parties to get serious about workers safety. This is about workers lives and the lives of their families,” added Ms Xamon.

  • Media contacts: Robin Chapple 0409 379 263 and Alison Xamon 0437 700 555
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