A united front

AUSTRALIA’S resources ministers are continuing to collaborate to keep critical projects operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Federal, state and territory mining ministers are maintaining a united front on keeping the resources sector running.

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Federal resources minister Keith Pitt said the resources ministers met by teleconference again on March 30 to discuss the shared goal of ensuring this vital sector keeps operating.

"The resources sector has developed a set of health and safety protocols to protect workers and local communities," Pitt said. 

"They include strict standards on transport and procedures on mine sites.

"State and territory ministers have committed to keep working together as each jurisdiction updates its border rules.

 "The Australian resources sector is a key part of the Australian economy.

"The commodities Australia mines keep the lights on here, they supply the essentials for major businesses like smelters and refineries, and our exports will be critical in keeping international economies going as they too deal with the COVID-19 pandemic."

Where possible state and territory jurisdictions will work together to maximise the ability of workers to move across state lines.

However, each state is regularly reviewing its requirements in accordance with the advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and respective state and territory Chief Medical Officers.

 "Ministers agreed that officials would undertake further work to ensure specialist personnel from overseas and within Australia continue to be available to respond in the event of an emergency," Pitt said.

"The resources sector remains well positioned to lead Australia's economic recovery, which was confirmed in latest figures from Western Australia yesterday.

"They showed a 28% increase in the state's resources sales last year and, importantly, the number of people employed in the industry rose to 133,094."

State resources chambers have also come together to endorse the strict national COVID-19 health and safety protocols agreed in partnership with the Australian government and the Minerals Council of Australia.

The protocols formalise many of the measures already implemented and outline the industry's commitment to meet government's expectations of performance for essential services.

New South Wales Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said implementation of the national resource industry protocols by the NSW mining sector was critical to protect its mining employees and their families and to ensure mines could remain operational across the state. 

"NSW mining operations have already implemented extensive workforce protection measures in accordance with public advice, including enhanced monitoring, increased cleaning and sanitation, work from home policies, social distancing, screening measures for visitors and many more," he said.

"It is now vital that all NSW mines understand and adhere to the measures outlined in the national protocols by implementing robust and sustainable COVID-19 management plans.

"Mining is playing an important role supporting our economy during this difficult time. And as mines implement their COVID-19 management plans, our industry will be ready to take on our share of the economic heavy-lifting as NSW starts to rebuild in the future."

 

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