Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni must come clean with the public about the state of Government Owned Corporations and their current work practices after last week’s catastrophic power station explosions only narrowly avoided serious injury and death.
Minister de Brenni has been talking down the explosions and fire in unit 4 of the Callide C coal fired power station in Biloela on May 25 whilst the Mining and Energy Division of the CFMEU has been requesting dialog with him.
Site inspections reveal shrapnel punched holes in the walls, roof and shielding of the turbine hall with part of the turbine flying hundreds of metres.
Another 300-kilogram piece of metal was embedded in the roof and had to be urgently removed by a crane crew as it posed an ongoing risk to workers.
Similar incidents overseas have most often resulted in fatalities.
Yet the Queensland Government continues to take credit for the close shave despite union officials raising concerns with work practices across the GOC site for some time.
CS Energy is a state-owned energy company, last year it paid $73.9 million in annual profit to the state government.
CFMEU Mining & Energy Vice President Shane Brunker says failure to face up to the managerial work practices and their decision making on the ground could lead to more damage of the State’s assets and injury to workers in future.
“I have been raising concerns with the work practices at the GOC’s for some time,” says CFMEU Mining & Energy Vice President Shane Brunker.
“Callide did not have any Control Room Operators with Breathing Apparatus training to perform essential tasks like entering switch rooms in an emergency to perform emergency switching, this recommendation was identified after a ‘bunker fire’ several years ago but fell on deaf ears.
“For some time, we have witnessed Managements’ putting pressure on workers to reduce staffing on the units across the Generation fleet, now we see workers’ opposition to this vindicated.
“There are three other Siemens manufactured turbine units identical or very similar to the one which exploded at Callide C last week in operation in Queensland – another at Callide but also one at Kogan Creek and Tarong North.
“At Kogan Creek we are concerned there is no on-site Emergency Response Team on night shifts or on weekends.
“The union has been trying for over a week to meet with Minister de Brenni to follow up on concerns already raised but with no response.
“The Minister needs to meet us urgently to discuss how we can avoid another incident at a Queensland power station which may lead to loss of life.
“CFMEU Members are ready and willing to walk off the job to ensure they have a safe workplace and Queenslanders continue to have access to reliable electricity.”