Mining safety conference is shadowed by taxation debate

As there was in the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, there is a third member in the relationship at the New South Wales Mining Council (NSWMC) conference that is being held in the Hunter Valley this week – the Government’s response to the Henry review into Australia’s taxation scheme.

The CEO of NSWMC, Dr Nikki Williams has been interviewed repeatedly at the conference with workplace safety being the opening line from reporters before asking about Henry.  Only 24 hours after the release of the Government’s response very little detail can be expected from an interview.  By lunchtime Williams’ responses were polished as she outlined the potentials – mine closures, economic damage to regional towns……  The reality of the taxation changes to the mining sector is not really going to be understood for several more days.  Any direct impact on safety is highly unlikely.

Sadly safety is not getting much consideration in the media discussions however there are potentials in this conference that could extend well beyond the mining industry.

The Minister for Mineral Resources, Ian Macdonald, spoke of some of the excellent work being undertaken by the NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council (MSAC).  In the next major research project since the Digging Deeper report,  MSAC will be investigating attitudes to culture in the mining sector.  The researchers involved with the project are very experienced and have the ability to cut through some of the culture/leadership management-speak to provide evidence that will be applicable in other industry sectors.

Outside the mining sector Digging Deeper has been sadly neglected but it is highly recommended for those who seek evidence for OHS matters, including fatigue and safety incentive schemes.

Tonight is the conference dinner and the NSWMC Safety Awards.  At least two of the award finalists provide innovative solutions that could easily be applied to other industries.  The Council provided some time this afternoon for finalists to present their projects to the over 400 of their mining peers.  This personal presentation is a terrific idea and personalises the efforts and the ingenuity of the workers and managers in the mining sector.  Many finalists looked like it was their first time using Powerpoint but their clumsiness was endearing.  These workers have more important things on their minds than learning how to click a mouse on a podium.

Media statement in relation to the confernece and NSWMC’s position on taxation are available here.

News of safety awards winners and other speakers will be on SafetyAtWorkBlog tomorrow afternoon

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones was a guest speaker at the NSWMC conference.

reservoir, victoria, australia

3 thoughts on “Mining safety conference is shadowed by taxation debate”

  1. Tony

    I think it is too early to see if there is any impact on the safety budgets of mining companies from the Federal Government\’s taxation reform plans. At this conference, the delegates are all unanimous that safety will be maintained and improved regardless of cost restraints but this is a safety conference.

    Once the reforms are digested by the large corporations, in particular, any squeeze on profit could flow to restrictions for safety-related projects.

    We\’ll have to wait and see.

  2. What on earth has tax got to do with safety? It sure shows the standing of workplace safety in the great scheme of things. Readily relegated.

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