THE HEALTH and wellbeing of the 372,000 men and women working in the State resources sector is the priority for the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and its member companies in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), accordong to QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane.
Mr Macfarlane said the QRC COVID-19 Working Group today shared information and responses to the virus with a focus on adhering to the advice from health authorities for all men and women working in the resources sector, their colleagues, their families and their communities.
“As an industry, we are following the advice of health authorities to minimise the impact on the one in seven working Queenslanders whose livelihood is linked directly or indirectly to the resources industry,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“The QRC is in direct contact with Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young and both the state and federal resource ministers Dr Anthony Lynham and Keith Pitt.
“The Prime Minister, through his National Cabinet, announced mine sites as essential activities and the Queensland Government today reiterated the importance of the sector and amid current conditions it was an “essential service” to Queensland.
“The QRC welcomed the announcement by the Palaszczuk Government to allow all Queensland companies to defer payroll tax payments for six months, in response to COVID-19, will boost much needed cash flow to thousands of companies across the State.
“Companies are already taking steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 as we do all we can to keep our workforce and their communities healthy. New procedures include health questionnaires for visitors/suppliers, temperature measurement at mine site entries and before flights to mine sites, improved separation procedures including head office staff working from home, staggered crib breaks, and no non-essential visitors to mine sites. As well, where possible, essential service crews such as Emergency Response and Pump Crews are being keep in isolation from broader workforce," he said.
“In order to ease pressure and help lighten the load on health workers in regional areas from people presenting for COVID-19 testing, resource companies are also waiving requirements for Doctors Certificates for general illness leave.
“As the COVID-19 situation evolves here and around the world, it will be critical for our industry – like all Australians – to heed the advice from health authorities.
“It is also critical as an industry we continue to devote our full attention to implementing the processes and procedures in accordance with the latest advice.
“While these are turbulent times amid the COVID-19 response, the resources industry will continue to play its central role in the economic productivity of the state and lives of all Queenslanders," Mr Macfarlane said.
“QRC will continue to work on a full range of industry issues, but we cannot afford distractions from what is essential at this time – responding to the global pandemic that is COVID-19.”