JCB wound up

LEGISLATION passed last week will see the Joint Coal Board separated from Commonwealth involvement and running closer to the models used by other coal producing states.

Staff Reporter

Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin said the Coal Industry Repeal Act 2001 fulfils the Government's election commitment to place the NSW coal industry on an equal footing with other coal producing states that administer their coal industries with minimal Commonwealth involvement.

"More importantly, it removes unnecessary Commonwealth intervention in the NSW coal industry which restricts its capacity to respond to the global challenges facing the coal industry," Senator Minchin said.

In other states the Joint Coal Board’s four core functions of the self-funded joint board are workers' compensation insurance, occupational health and rehabilitation, information services and training are administered and managed by the states.

The JCB was formed in 1964 to oversee the NSW coal industry through its post-war recovery.

"Today, the Australian coal industry operates in a dynamic and highly competitive international environment. This reform is extremely important because it provides NSW with the flexibility to meet the many dynamic challenges facing its coal industry.

The aim of the Coal Industry Repeal Act 2001 is to withdraw Commonwealth involvement from the Joint Coal Board and transfer all of its resources, including staff, to NSW.

"The NSW Government and industry are in the best position to determine what is best for their own industry. Accordingly, this Government has not sought to intervene or influence the new arrangements being established.

Minchin said that the NSW Government was finalising the new arrangements and that the new NSW statutory entity to replace the Joint Coal Board would be industry-owned. All the important functions of the board will be continued by NSW.

"It is important to note that the Joint Coal Board will continue to carry out its important functions until the NSW Government has established the new entity to replace the board," he added.