Crumlin Blasts Ports Australia

Paddy Crumlin has attacked Ports Australia for failing to address safety standards.

Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary Paddy Crumlin has expressed disappointment at Ports Australia's contribution to the debate on the future productivity and competitiveness of Australia's ports.

"Ports Australia should be primarily concerned about safety on our ports," Mr Crumlin said.

"MUA members are currently taking legally protected action at Patrick facilities due to the company's reluctance to improve safety standards or enter into genuine negotiations.

"We never take industrial action lightly and it is an extremely regrettable situation that the Patrick negotiations aren¹t finalised in the same fashion as the last four.

"Once again operators in Australian Ports have largely failed to address safety issues at a time when safety incidents and near misses are now averaging the alarming rate of one incident each week.

"Nine safety-related incidents have now been reported on Patrick¹s docks since Christmas. These are very concerning near-misses where our members are always in the firing line."

One man has been knocked unconscious and another has suffered a broken arm and wrist in these latest incidents.

In the latest incidents an auto-straddle tipped over at Patrick's Brisbane Terminal, a ship¹s crane went haywire in Darwin, a heavy forklift also toppled over in Brisbane, and a straddle lost a wheel in Melbourne. 

Similar incidents are being recorded with other port operators.

"Ports Australia has refused to comment on the drastically declining safety standards under their management," Mr Crumlin said.

"It's a disgrace that they are exaggerating the cost of the negotiations while we are still bargaining in a legal and responsible fashion yet they continue to ignore the human damage being inflicted on stevedoring workers under their watch.

"They lack credibility. Many of the deaths in the last few years in Australian ports resulted in fines for negligence against port operators, yet they remained silent.

"They're an industry and international joke and should be disregarded. Their latest comments are merely gratuitous and compound their lack of leadership."