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Issue #1462      7 July 2010

MUA report and action on safety

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has welcomed the commitment of the Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, to see that improved worker safety is a critical outcome out of the findings of the Montara Commission of Inquiry.

The inquiry was launched after the uncontrolled oil and gas release from the Montara Wellhead Platform, which occurred from August 21 to November 3 2009.

“That no workers were seriously injured in the Montara wellhead crisis was very, very lucky but we cannot rely on luck when we are considering the lives and welfare of the crews who work in some of the most remote and challenging workplaces on the planet,” said Paddy Crumlin, national secretary of the MUA. “I congratulate the Minister on his determination to see that safety is a prime issue in the event of a crisis like Montara. The important thing is that we have the right regulation moving forward.

“But any recommendations the Minister makes need, inevitably, to be coloured by the safety and environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, whose scope grows daily.”

Eleven crew died in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. “We really have to consider the ‘What ifs’. What would a calamity like the one in the US – even if greatly discounted – do to our environmental icons like the Ashmore Reef and the pristine coastline of North West Australia,” said Crumlin.

Mr Ferguson said he was focussed on “making our oil and gas exploration and production operations the best and safest in the world. This report will play an important role in keeping our workers safe, protecting our environment and safeguarding our energy security”.

The Minister also made it clear that before releasing the report publicly he was bound to consider advice from the Australian Government Solicitor to see that in the handling of the report he did not prejudice the conduct of further investigations for possible offences including criminal offences, other civil or criminal action, or undermine any natural justice considerations.  

Next article – Health identifiers a good start on e-health

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