Today is the three year anniversary of the tragedy which cost Peter Meddens and Barry Denholm their lives on the Stena Clyde oil rig in the Bass Strait off the coast of Victoria.
The matter has only just reached the Courts with a hearing taking place in Melbourne yesterday. There is no outcome at this time.
Unions are aghast at the length of time it has taken to reach this point and can’t understand why it has taken so long for the case to reach the courts.
The delays and astounding lack of information by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA) must act as an impetus for change; the Federal Government must replace NOPSEMA with an independent and full service regulator.
Delays such as those which occur under NOPSEMA – who lack the power to prosecute - cause great anguish to the family, friends and work mates of the victims.
Furthermore the lack of explanation means the safety issue isn’t dealt with in a timely manner and puts other workers at unacceptable risk.
There are safety standards that cover all other Australian workers under Occupational Health and Safety laws – yet offshore workers are denied these important protections.
Quotes attributable to ACTU Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick:
“The families, friends and work mates of Peter Meddens and Barry Denholm have been waiting a long time to find out what happened to their loved ones on that terrible day in 2012.”
“We are calling for Federal Government to overhaul NOPSEMA and replace it with a full service regulator who can act quickly to prosecute to ensure the reasons behind an accident are identified without this extraordinary delay.”
“The ACTU is also concerned NOPSEMA is too close to the industry to act as an effective regulator.”
“Without a full and independent investigation into such tragedies we cannot ensure other workers will not be exposed to similar dangers.”
“Offshore safety legislation must be brought into line with national OHS standards – there is no justification for lower standards of protections for offshore workers.”