Joint Coal Board dissolved

Staff Reporter

The functions of the Joint Coal Board are to be moved to the New South Wales government, under legislation introduced to parliament on June 26. Formed in 1946, the historic entity was instrumental in improving conditions in the NSW coal industry which moved from domestic producer to major exporter at the end of World War II.

The board had sweeping powers over mining methods, opening and closing of mines, coal distribution including purchase and sale, price regulation and employment and recruitment to the industry. Among the JCB's legacies are mechanisation of the industry, the elimination of black lung (pneumoconiosis) and regulation of facilities such as water and sewerage systems.

Since 1992, the board has not performed regulatory functions, concentrating on health and welfare issues including workers compensation, occupational health and rehabilitation, information services and training.

Parliamentary resources secretary Warren Entsch said the Commonwealth government recognised the board's importance to the NSW coal industry.

"Following discussions with the NSW government, it was jointly decided to transfer the full responsibility of the Joint Coal Board to the NSW government," he said. "This includes the transfer of all the assets, liabilities and rights."

All current staff will be transferred to the new entity.

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