Varanus Failure highlights shoddy regulation

Mines Minister Norman Moore should use Parliamentary Privilege to release the Varanus Island report to the public, Greens MLC Robin Chapple said today.

“The Varanus Island explosion endangered workers’ lives and had a critical impact on Western Australia’s energy infrastructure, on householders and businesses.   The public deserve to have this report made available,” Mr. Chapple said.

“Mr. Moore has stated that he is unable to release the report due to Crown advice.   It is true that he cannot comment on the report, but what he does not say is that he can have the report tabled under Parliamentary Privilege, for the public benefit.”

“This is certainly an instance where the Minister can have the report tabled by one of his colleagues in the Legislative Assembly, but he personally can table it in the Legislative Council.”  

Mr. Chapple also said that the Government’s failure to successfully prosecute Apache Energy and its co-licensees was the outcome of years of slack regulation of the industry.

“It really does make a joke of the self-regulation mantra preached by State and Federal governments over the past decade or so when Apache can walk away from prosecution essentially because they said they thought the pipeline was in good repair.”

“Plainly there should have been far more thorough oversight of our energy infrastructure by State authorities.”

“This is a critical bit of infrastructure and it’s appalling that both Labor and the Coalition still believe that a company, which is obliged to put shareholders ahead of the general public, can be relied upon to self-regulate to the extent that they do today.”

“It’s time to put more people and more funding into regulating our critical infrastructure to ensure there is not another Varanus-type incident that puts lives and livelihoods in danger.”

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255


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