CFMEU, IPA, Gretley Mine – political lessons

Readers outside of  New South Wales may vaguely remember that in 1996 four miners died in a coalmine in the Hunter Valley 0f New South Wales.  They may also remember that the was some press about the prosecution of some directors of the mining company.  It was one of those incidents and court cases that should have gained broader attention that it did.

As OHS stakeholders in Australia ponder the ramifications of the Government’s proposed Safe Work Bill, it is important to also ponder the legal legacy of the Gretley mine disasater.  It may provide non-NSW and non-mining readers with a better understanding of the resistance to the new harmonised laws from the mining industry in both New South Wales and Western Australia.

Cover ARTAndrewVickersOpinionPiece091009On 15 October 2009, Andrew Vickers of the Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union used the Gretley saga as a justification to call for the harmoinised legislation and support systems to allow for variations to meet the special needs of the mining sector.

cover PHILLIPS        5.04925E-210RETLEYOn the other side of political fence, Ken Phillips of the Institute of Public Affairs, a conservative thinktank, produced a document about the politics of the Gretley saga.  The publication was supported by a video, available below. Phillips’ paper is a useful illustration of business’ opinions of the unions and New South Wales’ OHS legislation.  This legislation is a centrepiece to the ACTU and union movement’s concerns and opposition to many elements of the current draft Safe Work Bill.

Prominent sociologist, Andrew Hopkins, has written about the OHS management issues raised by the disaster and its aftermath.

SafetyAtWorkBlog believes that these political and safety resources can provide a primer to many of the issues being discussed in the current debate on OHS laws.

Kevin Jones

2 thoughts on “CFMEU, IPA, Gretley Mine – political lessons”

  1. Neil

    Thanks. Andrew also reminded me about his Gretley book. Wherever possible I link through to freely available OHS sources but in this case I have taken the liberty of including hyperlinks to the CCH titles you quoted in your comment.

    Any chance of Andre\’s Moura Mine book coming back into print?

  2. Thanks Kevin, I agree that it is essential to understand Gretley to understand the depth of feeling about the NSW laws and what I regard as the mis-representation of the law in some comment.

    Your readers might be interested in knowing that as well as the Working Paper you link to above, Andrew Hopkins has published a whole book on the trial and related matters- \”Lessons from Gretley- Mindful Leadership and the Law\” (CCH, 2007), and I published an article on the legal aspects of the final appeal: “Mining, maps and mindfulness: the Gretley appeal to the Full Bench of the Industrial Court of NSW” (2008) 24/2 Journal of Occupational Health and Safety, Australia and New Zealand 113-129.

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