New Industrial Relations Minister Bernie Finnigan is a “lazy, insensitive log” for not having read a critical 40 page Corner’s report into a tragic workplace death, Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Rob Lucas said today.
“It is unbelievable and unacceptable that 30 hours after the Coroner released his damning report, the Minister responsible for SafeWork SA confirmed in question time today that he hadn’t even read all of the short report,” Mr Lucas said.
The Coroner’s report is critical not only of the action of the company involved, but also of aspects of the operations of SafeWork SA.
“It was interesting to note the response of Mr Finnigan’s own ALP colleagues in parliament today as they were clearly dumbfounded that he would stand up and say he hadn’t read all of the report.
“They are already saying Mr Finnigan’s blunder is further indication that he is not up to the job of Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council.
Mr Finnigan was also unable to answer questions in parliament about whether recent budget cuts of 18 staff in SafeWork SA (including three Senior Inspectors, one Principal Inspector, one Senior Industrial Relations Inspector and Frontline Services Manager) had impacted in any way on SafeWork SA’s capacity to complete the compliance audit of similar machines referred to by the Coroner.
For example, the Minister has also provided no response to the following critical comment made by the Coroner:
“….. it was not until more than 6 years after Mr Madeley’s death that the ‘strategic interventions’ section of SafeWork SA finally commenced a compliance project to identify the number of horizontal and vertical borers at South Australian workplaces and ensure that they are appropriately guarded, amongst other things. In my view this is completely unacceptable.”
(Inquest into the death of Daniel Nicholas Madeley, Coroner’s Court, Courts Administration Authority – South Australia, p37)
“Given Mr Finnigan hadn’t bothered to read the 40 page Coroner’s report before question time, we can only wonder whether he had even organised a briefing with SafeWork SA.”