MCA boss ‘industry has to improve safety’

August 5, 2019 Mining Editor

The new Chair of the Minerals Council of Australia has acknowledged that there are opportunities for improvements in mining safety throughout the region.

Helen Coonan, a former Senator acknowledged in a recent interview that something was ”not working” in the industry’s approach to safety. Her comments have come following the spate of deaths and injuries across the industry, most notably in Queensland with 6 deaths in less than a year.

Ms Coonan told the Australian Finacial Review that the industry had to improve, and reducing fatalities and workplace incidents were the top priority for her term as chairman of the Minerals Council.

“I know a lot of our members do some extremely good work in this area but there have been too many fatalities,” she said.

”In my opinion, all deaths are preventable.

”Safety is our No.1 priority for the minerals industry and I think it is critical that we address that.”

She told the AFR that her time on the board of Snowy Hydro had given her experience and ideas that might be transferable to help improve safety across the mining sector.

”I do have some background experience that I would like to test out with some of our members. It can sometimes be a cultural thing, I would not presume to say that, but clearly something is not working if you have this number of fatalities,” she said.

”It is a tragedy and we want to have absolutely zero deaths in the industry.”

Ms Coonan served as a Member of Parliament from 1996 – 2011 and had a term as Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. She became Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate in January 2006 and was the first female in the Coalition Leadership team

She will serve a two-year term as chairman of the Minerals Council of Australia replacing former ABC director Dr Vanessa Guthrie who was linked to the mining industry through her involvement in Uranium mining.

Image: Minerals Council of Australia

Link to AFR Interview

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