Mine safety report wholly inadequate: Greens

21st October, 2010 - The report of an independent inquiry into the handling of safety and bullying complaints by the Department of Mines and Petroleum in the eastern Goldfields amounts to a whitewash established by the restrictive terms of reference, Greens MLC Robin Chapple said today.

“This report is an entirely insufficient document relative to the number and scale of complaints made about mine safety and how the Department handles them over the past year,” Mr. Chapple said.

“The weight of evidence that The Hon. Jon Ford and I presented in Parliament forced the Minister to acknowledge that there was an issue with complaints handling and the enforcement of safety regulations in the mining industry.”

“Despite this, the enquiry commissioned by Norman Moore restricted PriceWaterhouseCoopers from investigating the incidents and concerns raised in Parliament in the past year.” 

“I am happy to have been able to bring these matters to the Department’s attention, and pleased that this has resulted in positive changes on the ground despite the Minister’s dithering.   This report however does nothing to address this ongoing safety nightmare.”

“The investigation appears to have focused on just two complainants rather than the scores of incidents identified by workers who felt so unsupported by the Resources Safety Division that they were compelled to take their concerns to their Member of Parliament, which should not have be necessary.”

“The bullying incidents that were raised in Parliament and by the two complainants could not even be properly investigated due to restrictions imposed by the Mining Act.   The Report identifies that this may be resolved by the Commonwealth Government who have indicated that investigations into bullying incidents will be supported by legislation that will come into force in 2012. 

“Until then – as the report makes clear – there is essentially no avenue for bullying allegations to be investigated by the Department of Mines and Petroleum.   Does the Minister think this is good enough?”

“Most disgraceful of all is that the report identifies that the Resources Safety Division’s policy relating to prosecution is that it is to be the last resort when dealing with safety breaches, “except in cases where death or serious injury has occurred.””

“This suggests that the Department is happy to sit back and wait for a miner to die or be injured rather than take proactive deterrent measures against mining firms that breach occupational health and safety issues.”

“Mr. Moore has apparently washed his hands of miners’ health and safety by endorsing this wholly inadequate process.”

  • For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263




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