Pilbara cyclone resistant structures

Disappointing Neglect of Pilbara Worker Safety

Friday 3 May 2013

Greens WA member for the Mining and Pastoral Region and spokesperson on Climate Change, Robin Chapple MLC, today described the lack of action on cyclone preparedness across Pilbara worksites as disappointing.

“Thank goodness the Shire of Roebourne has again brought this issue into the public spotlight.

“I commend the Shire for raising the question of inadequate cyclone shelters at today’s WALGA meeting in Karratha.

“Long-time residents of the North-West will remember the massive reinforced concrete shelters supplied as a matter of course to occupants of Commonwealth (GEHA) worker housing.

“These little beauties withstood everything Mother Nature could throw at them”, Mr Chapple reminisced, “but it seems we don’t care enough about our people now – just look at what cyclones have done to workers’ shelters in recent years.

“It appears we have learned little from the tragic deaths of the mine workers who perished in the passage of Cyclone George across the Pilbara.

“Six years on, after court cases, police reports, WorkSafe reports, coroners reports, words from government – and yet something as obviously basic as Building Code of Australia certification is still just an item on a lobby group agenda.

“Unfortunately, in this era of so-called efficiency dividends and general cost-cutting throughout the economy, worker safety can be little more than rhetoric and is regularly honoured more in the breach than the observance.

 “As we know, climate change is making matters worse – the intensity of tropical cyclones around Australia’s north is increasing – and, disturbingly, they are tracking further south towards heavily populated areas.

“It’s high time government woke up to its responsibilities – before another tragedy occurs”, Mr Chapple concluded.

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