Queensland | Western Australia |
South Australia |
At the time of the explosion Rick
Wilkinson was General Manager Southern Australia Business Unit at
The following press release retrieved from
the Australia Worker's Union Website on 16th November 2013 is published in full:
AWU calls for Moomba inquiry
Wednesday 07th January 2004 11:00 - The Australian Workers' Union has called for
an immediate inquiry into safety at the Moomba gas plant, fearing workers at the
Santos facility were being placed in peril.
The main union at the Moomba facility, the Australian Workers Union (AWU),
demanded the inquiry into safety levels at the plant in South Australia's far
Gas flows from the Moomba plant have been restricted since an explosion and fire
at the site on New Year's Day.
AWU national secretary Bill Shorten said the union was concerned at about safety
He said the union would meet on Wednesday with the SA government, which toured
the damage at the Moomba plant, about the need for an immediate inquiry.
AWU SA branch secretary Wayne Hanson and Mr Shorten wrote to the government
expressing their concerns about safety at the Moomba plant.
"The New Year's Day explosion is not the first significant safety problem that
has arisen at the Moomba facility," Mr Hanson and Mr Shorten wrote.
"In June 2001, a Santos employee and AWU member and representative, Colin
Jeremy Sutton, was tragically killed when he was performing routine maintenance
work on the liquids pumping station at Moomba, and a leak ignited which also
burned another employee on the face and hands.
"The Industrial Relations Court found that Santos had `failed in its most basic
responsibility as an employer' and fined the company $105,000.
"These incidents suggest to the AWU that Santos may be suffering from
`corporate pathology' - that is, that the organisation is unhealthy and this is
a problem that needs to be rectified before a bigger problem emerges.
"We are familiar with these sorts of problems within organisations -
particularly from the explosion and fire at Esso's refinery in Longford,
In 1998, an explosion and fire at Esso's Longford plant killed two workers and
cut gas supplies to Victorian homes and businesses for two weeks.
No one was injured in the Moomba blaze.
The AWU said the SA government should immediately enact a number of measures,
including establishing a tripartite working group or inquiry with Santos, the
government and the union to identify any systemic problems at Moomba.
The union also wanted the government, with the union, to hold a series of
meetings with Moomba workers, and also investigate the possibility of
introducing major hazardous facilities regulations comparable to those in
existence in Victoria.
Below is an extract from the speech
delivered by AWU Greater South Australian Branch Secretary to the SA Delegates
Conference, 31 August 2004 in Adelaide.
FRIDAY 16 JULY, 2004 –
Only seven weeks ago our members
working in the Oil and Gas Industry up in the Cooper Basin were
negotiating an Enterprise Agreement. Our members had resolved to
take “protected industrial action” because the bosses wouldn’t
improve their offer. Within only a few hours the boss had notified
the Federal Court and summoned the AWU and organiser Peter Lamps to
appear for the purpose of having injunctions issued against us.
Santos was preparing to take us
to the cleaners, and why? Because Peter and our members wanted to
legally advance the terms and conditions of employment for AWU
members. Peter was only doing his job, and for that he and the AWU
were being threatened by Santos in the Federal Court.
The boss was hoping that they
could apply enough pressure on the individual to get the members to
accept the Santos offer. Well the boss’s tactics backfired and they
failed, in fact they couldn’t intimidate Peter and it made the
members more resolute. In fact my mail is that the boss/worker
relationships at Moomba today, have been wound back by at least ten years.
So what is the point I’m making? I want you to know that the boss’s attitudes have not improved over the last fifty years, in fact they have gotten progressively worse.
And I’m here to tell you, we need unions just as much today, if not more so now, than any part of our working lives.
GROWING THE UNION
From what I’ve said today you may have noted that a significant portion of our disputes are not
resolved in the Industrial Commission, they are argued in the
courts. This tactic was designed by the current ultra conservative
Federal Liberal Government to reduce the power of the Industrial
Commission and force unions and workers onto a judgmental system
that uses lawyers, QC’s and judges and of course, truck loads of money.
The following press release retrieved from the Australia Worker's Union Website on 16th November 2013 is published in full:
No More Moombas - AWU Delegates to Debate Workplace Incidents
Tuesday 31st August 2004 10:00
Over 200 workers and AWU members from across South Australia will
meet this morning to discuss strategies to tackle the contentious
issue of preventing incidents at South Australia's major hazardous facilities.
The workers, from local
government, manufacturing and the petro-chemical industry, will meet
at the AAMI Stadium in Adelaide and hear from speakers including
Premier Mike Rann, SA Industrial Commissioner Mick Doyle and
National AWU OHS Director Dr. Yossi Berger.
AWU National Secretary Bill
Shorten, who will be in Adelaide for the conference, said that South
Australian AWU members are worried by the increasing number of major
workplace incidents, and want the SA Government to tackle the issue
head on to avoid another disaster like the blast at Santos' Moomba plant in January.
"Over the last five years AWU
members have had their lives placed in jeopardy by serious incidents
at major hazardous facilities across the country. In January a major
explosion at Moomba placed hundreds of workers at risk and this was
followed by a major ethanol explosion in Wollongong" Mr Shorten said.
"Thankfully these incidents
didn't result in the death of any workers; however we fear it is
only a matter of time before one of these incidents will result in
the devastation and fatalities we experienced after the Longford Gas
Plant explosion in 1998.
Today we will be putting our
demands on the table and will be calling for the State Government to
introduce Major Hazardous Facilities legislation to avoid these
types of incidents in the future."
AWU South Australian Secretary
Wayne Hanson said, "AWU members across the state have personally
told me how concerned they are about the Moomba incident being
repeated at their workplaces - we are meeting today to make sure it
never happens again."
Queensland | Western Australia |
South Australia |