MUA Calls For Urgent Safety And Training Audit Of Pearl Industry

The Maritime Union of Australia wishes to extend its deepest condolences to the family of Jarrod Hampton, the young diver whose death at sea was profiled by the 4 Corners program last night.

The story raised a series of deep concerns about safety practices within the Paspaley company, prompting the MUA to call for:

*The immediate formation of a joint MUA-Government occupational health and safety audit squad, to inspect pearling vessels across Northern Australia;

*The immediate and mandatory introduction of safety divers on all pearling vessels;

*Appropriate first aid training for deckhands and skippers on all pearling vessels;

* Better training and induction courses to better prepare first-time divers for the dangerous work of drift diving

*A mandatory requirement for a higher ratio of experienced to trainee divers on all pearling vessels.

MUA Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray said last night's program was shocking and that the community expects better.

"It's clear that an urgent audit of safety and training in the pearling industry is needed," Mr Bray said.  

"Anyone who watched last night's 4 Corners would be deeply disturbed by its revelations.

"The show paints a picture of an industry in desperate need of better safety and training. Clearly, self-regulation has not worked and the industry has been notoriously difficult to deal with from a union perspective.

"While an immediate overhaul of practices is needed, this industry also needs a dramatic change in culture, to allow theworkforce to have a greater say in training and safety.

"Nobody wants to shut this industry down. What we want is a responsible industry that makes the safety and training of its workforce the highest priority."

Further comment: Ian Bray 0403 325 376