The NSW Minerals Council say the COAG Reform Council report released today is more damning evidence of the significant risk posed by the state government’s recalcitrant stance towards the historical national OH & S harmonisation processes.
The report concluded that “there is a significant risk that a nationally harmonised health and safety system will not proceed, or will not be achieved because of jurisdictional variations from the model laws or inconsistent enforcement approaches.”
NSW Minerals Council CEO Dr Nikki Williams today called on the NSW Government to honour the intergovernmental agreement on occupational health and safety.
“The NSW Government is acting a roadblock to this historic and critical reform. The CRC report is yet another voice highlighting the risk inherent in the position taken by the NSW Government,” Williams said.
“This is an issue where policy must triumph over politics. I note and welcome comments by both the Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Treasurer that OHS reform represents a ‘watershed’ issue and the NSW Coalition’s commitment to national OHS harmonisation.”
She said the Australian minerals industry has the best safety rating in the world and that will only continue with involvement from all agencies and government.
“We are committed to the health and safety of our workforce and we are continually striving to reach our target of zero injuries. It is simply our number one priority and the new Model Act will help towards the industry’s goal.
“A national OHS framework is crucial to improving safety in workplaces across the country. It will eliminate the tangled web of red tape across State borders, particularly for people working in companies which operate in a number of jurisdictions. The new Model Act will finally allow us to focus solely on safety and health, rather than wrestling with eight different compliance regimes.”
Coal Services has commended the NSW Government’s introduction of Order Nos. 41 and 42 to the Coal Industry Act 2001 and welcomed the next step in improving work safety for the industry.
“We congratulate the Minister on approving these Orders, which are critical to the health and protection of NSW mine workers,” Coal Services’ chairman Ron Land said.
It said the Orders, governing the health surveillance requirements of coal miners in NSW and the monitoring of airborne dust at coal operations across NSW, are fundamental to improving the work environment of the tens of thousands of employees in the sector.