CFMEU - Mining and Energy Division
Newman’s mining committee heralds war footing with Qld workers
State Government poised to attack safety, conditions, environment: CFMEU
A Newman Government committee to “aggressively” target Queensland mining industry regulation is nothing short of a declaration of war on the safety and working conditions of the state’s mineworkers, the Miners’ Union says.
CFMEU District President Stephen Smyth said the Resources Cabinet Committee’s aim of removing legislation would mean taking away vital protections for workers and the environment.
Mr Smyth said the fact the news came within days of the Queensland Resources Council making its own public attacks on the state’s safety laws showed the Government was acting on behalf of industry lobby groups rather than workers.
“Workers know from the history of disasters and accidents over the years that you cannot leave maintaining safety and proper working conditions to mining companies,” Mr Smyth said.
“But for this new ‘committee’ to say that they want to slash mine regulation and speed up approvals, it means the Government plans to hand the fox the keys to the henhouse.
“Also of particular concern are the Government’s plans to brush over environmental controls in the approval process, which translates to getting rid of rules that stop companies dumping pollution in rivers and waterways.”
The new direction was a worrying sign for the industry, the Union said, after recent media comments from Campbell Newman and the Government’s refusal to distance itself from the QRC’s calls to strip away mine safety.
Mr Smyth said it was concerning Mr Newman this week called for weakened mine conditions on ABC’s Lateline after recent media speculation about coking coal price falls.
“It’s no surprise mining companies are rent-seeking to cut their costs, it’s what they’ve done for as long as they’ve come to our shores,” Mr Smyth said.
“It’s of real concern when a Government like Campbell Newman’s starts bending over backwards to remove vital regulation protecting workplace safety, working conditions and the environment.
“Our members have worked in this industry when met coal was viable at $50 a tonne. The price has come off the boil slightly but it’s still at $170. This is no excuse to let companies, who have made incredible profits on the back of Queensland coal, further degrade conditions at workplaces across the state.”
Contact: Stephen Smyth 0417 897 845 / Martin Watters 0400 179 620
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