Union responds to Ichthys death
The ETU wants the NT to introduce industrial manslaughter laws following the death of a worker at the Inpex Ichthys LNG plant.
The union says legislation is the best way to force companies such as Inpex, JKC, and other contractors “to fulfil their safety obligations to workers and prevent further tragedies occurring”.
“We owe it to Carl and his family to make sure we fix the culture on this project and try and stop this culture from continuing on other construction sites,” says ETU NT and Queensland state secretary Peter Ong.
“We call on the NT Government to strengthen their health and safety legislation, to audit NT WorkSafe and introduce industrial manslaughter laws like those introduced in Queensland.”
Attorney General Natasha Fyles said the Northern Territory will wait on the results of a national review of work place health and safety laws before it considers any kind of industrial manslaughter legislation.
“Queensland have stepped out of sync with the other jurisdictions that are looking at this and bought in their own legislation,” Ms Fyles said.
“We are participating in that national review and certainly will await the outcomes of that before we move to make any changes.”
Mr Ong said union investigators were prevented from conducting a proper review.
“What we found was instead of the whole site being shut down and JKC and Inpex ordering a complete full-site audit, contractors were trying to push workers straight back out to work again with minimal concern for their safety,” he said.
“For these contractors to turn around and push these workers back out to work without completely reviewing safety procedures is not only disgusting but has put more workers' lives at risk.”
The ETU says it is still seeking meetings with Inpex and JKC.
Mr Ong alleges that the Inpex Ichthys project has been “plagued by a culture of fear and intimidation against workers who spoke out against safety issues”.
“The only thing that is going to stop these companies and big business from putting workers' lives secondary to profits is the threat of going to jail for killing workers,” Mr Ong said.
“If workers spoke up about safety issues they would either be put on a blacklist and let go at the next round of redundancies, or if they were within their six-month probation period they'd be terminated on the spot.
“This has become a business model for these companies now — to just threaten workers that they are taking illegal industrial action whenever they bring up issues around safety.
“And the result is quite clear — workers are getting injured and in worst-case scenarios are losing their lives,” the union official said.