MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE ISSUES.

By on July 2, 2001

SUBMISSIONS

EPA Draft Air Quality Improvement Plan

On the 31st August 2001, CMPA representatives including Brendan Cooper, Ron Kerr, Basil Natoli and Len Thompson met with EPA representatives Lyn Dennison, Bill Millard and Jennifer Walcott, to discuss CMPA concerns with the proposed Base Load Monitoring and Neighbourhood Environment Improvement Plan.

Jennifer Walcott explained why the N E I P had evolved. From this explanation it was apparent that the plan was aimed at resolving issues with air quality where there are many contributing factors, and no single industry or site being wholly responsible for the problem. It was apparent that this process was more applicable to an urban environment including a number of potential pollution sources, rather than a quarry or pit located in a rural or semi rural locality.

One key result from this meeting was the CMPA appointment of Basil Natoli to recommend two sites for EPA monitoring. This results from these EPA studies will be used a method of testing the base load monitoring process of a Work Authority site.

During the meeting the CMPA urged the EPA to reach a Memorandum of Understanding with the DNRE, enabling the DNRE inspector to be the initial and only contact to report incidents. The CMPA aims to reduce confusion in reporting and minimise risk for its members.

Environmental Guidelines for ‘Ground Vibration and Air-blast Limits for Blasting in Mines and Quarries’ and ‘Management of Water in Mines and Quarries’

The above guidelines have been completed and will be presented to members by John Mitas of the DNRE at the upcoming general meeting.

MEMBERS ISSUES

Bond Issue

Investigations continue to unearth facts with regards to the present assessment costs on one front while on the other we are trying to find a fairer and more equitable solution.

The following table provided from the DNRE lists Production, Value of Sales and Bonds from 95/96 to 99/00 and 00/01 to date for the Victorian Extractive Industry.

Two additional reports are to be developed, the first entitled “An Economic Forward Projection of the Construction Material Processor’s Viability”, and the second being the “Development of Commercial Management Tools to Administer a Rehabilitation Guarantee Fund”. The proposed timing for presentation of the Bond Report in full to the Minister is during the second quarter of 2002.

Benchmarking

Thanks are extended to those businesses who supplied a copy of their Chart of Accounts. These are currently being formulated into a generic document by Pitcher Partners as the first stage of the benchmarking project. We look forward to supplying the Chart of Accounts to members in the near future.

Benchmarking will show you how and where to improve the efficiency of your business. The Management Committee is considering the means by which this second step could be achieved, along with cost implications when using a specialist company such as FMRC Benchmarking who could compile and calibrate the results. Specific information from a particular business will remain confidential.

As an industry that services the wider economy the study will highlight the impact of increasing compliance cost for things like:

  1. Environmental Expenditure.
  2. Quality Assurance.
  3. Occupational Health and Safety.

This information exists only in very sketchy form at the present time, so you will have the chance to be involved in the first major study of our industry’s profitability.

Assuming a large number of businesses commit to sending some financial information (which will remain confidential), it would be processed and produce a customised report giving you:

  1.  Current information about the industry overall.
  2. Current cost structures – see where you need to tighten expenditures.
  3. Personnel productivity levels – see if your people need more training, or better work practices.
  4. Desirable or necessary investment in the business.
  5. Highlighting key results and trends from the comparison.

The focus of the whole benchmarking comparison is to give you practical information about how other firms are working and how they are achieving their results. It’s a no nonsense exercise, to help your day-to-day management and the overall policies and direction of your business.

Are Royalties Collected on Mine By-product?

At the present time mining companies do not pay royalties to the State Government for off site removal of overburden.

Mining licensees do pay royalties on a percentage basis set by the Minister to cover the actual ore or mineral extracted. The percentage is calculated on a ‘Grade Value’ such as ‘Gold – high value’, ‘Coal – low value’ etc. This fee only applies beyond an extraction depth of 15 metres on land titles where applicable. Mining Licensees also pay a fee of $23.00 per hectare per annum.

During CMPA discussions with the DNRE in July 2001, John Mitas advised Grant Phillips and Chris Prowse that a Royalty Fee on overburden removal from a mine site would apply in the near future, and that the fee $1.43 per metre or $0.87 per tonne was under consideration.

Vic Roads Rise and Fall Adjustment Issue

Recently members raised concern in that Rise and Fall adjustments were not being passed on. Correspondence was entered into with Vic Roads with the following result:

 ‘…Vic Roads will amend its payment provisions to explicitly require head contractors, where price adjustment payments are applicable to the head contract, to pass those adjustments on to sub-contractors and suppliers as appropriate.’ [P Balfe, Acting Chief Executive, correspondence received 3-10-01]

The CMPA truly appreciates this result however expresses concern in regards to Vic Roads’ knowledge (or lack of) of taxpayer’s money not being fairly redistributed.

Post Compaction Testing

The issue was firstly raised at General Meeting #8 (1-6-01) and again at the Induction Handbook launch. The CMPA has concluded the most effective method of resolution is to request all members to take the standard approach of only accepting tenders that specify materials are to be tested and approved prior to dispatch only and noting such conditions on all their weighbridge dockets. It is vital that all members take up this request for such actions will not only the benefit of the majority, but also protect members’ own assets.

CMPA Joins VECCI (Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry).

The CMPA has become a member of VECCI, providing our members with VECCI’s quality services and publications. This also means that CMPA Members can claim member discounts on VECCI publications and a 25% discount on their company’s own VECCI membership.

Our Industry Manager will be Warren West whom members can contact via their Regional Coordinator. Warren is armed with a wealth of knowledge and experience (both empirical and academic) in Industrial relations issues of the building and construction / mining industries, and his main aim as Industry Manager (Building and Construction) is to take a proactive role in servicing the Industrial Relations needs of the members he represents.

On another matter, a letter from Chris James, the spokesperson for the Victorian Road Funding Alliance, advised us that Victoria would receive 21% of the Federal Government 2000 ‘Road to Recovery Program’s ‘$1.2 billion over four years, i.e. $63 million per annum with a high percentage to be spent on regional local roads. In May 2001 the Federal Government announced a further $1.8 billion for 2001/02, again with 21% or $378 million for Victoria. Whilst this 21% is less than the 25% sought by the Alliance, it represents a significant improvement on the 15% allocation received during 2000/01.

Protect Your Own “Commercial in Confidence” – Information made Available to Government Departments

From time to time your business may be asked to provide documents to Government bodies, and you may wonder what security is provided for this information.

Take for example documents generated in relation to reporting accidents to the DNRE, which specifically may include:

  • Accident Report Forms.
  • Training Manuals and materials that your business or others have prepared.
  • Employee information, and
  • Correspondence with third parties, for example machinery manufacturers as to the circumstances of the accident.

In certain circumstances these documents can be released to third parties under the Freedom of Information Act of 1982, and the conditions are detailed in that Act.

In any event a covering letter with your documents could contain the following:

“These documents are provided strictly in compliance with your request under (here insert the relevant legislation)“.

In doing so you are aware of your right to be consulted under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act of 1982, before decisions are made as to whether documents are to be disclosed to third parties.

Thanks to Phil Brewin at Nevett Ford Lawyers for this advice, which will be posted in full detail for member’s review and consideration.

CMPA Rules – Progress Report

The latest review of the Rule Document is to be ratified at the next general meeting by members, with thanks going to Andrew Lumb at Nevett Ford Lawyers for his wisdom on this matter.

SAFTEY AND ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION

Facts About Our and Associated Industries, Including Recent Fatalities

We have been advised that the last fatality in Victoria was on November 9th 1990. Other recent fatalities included that of an electrical worker on the 26th March 2001 at a Dimension Stone Quarry in WA, and that of a miner on the 20th March 2001 who died under rubble at Tolukuma underground gold mine in Papua New Guinea.

John Mitas of DNRE advised the latest production figures for Victoria at 36.3 million tonnes at an estimated sales value of $330 million. The Industry employs more than 1,500 people directly, and 690 Work Authorities have been granted. There are 1,200 Work Authorities in the system including applications.

The current LTIFR (Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate) at 19 has reached a plateau for the last five years.

CMPA Induction Handbook Launch.

The Induction Handbook Launch was affected in conjunction with a dinner at Fountains Restaurant, Box Hill Institute on 31st August 2001. Approximately 140 members and guests gathered to mark the launch with the initial copy being presented by Geoff Howard MLA (representing the Honourable Candy Broad MP, Minister for Energy and Resources, and Ports) to Tim Bird, whose father Graham first moved the motion to prepare the Handbook.

Geoff noted that the CMPA had been invited as a representative on the EMIAB (Extractive and Mining Industry Advisory Board), one of the mechanisms to develop the industry. The Board provides the Minister with ongoing advice and opportunities within the industry to ensure that planing responds to the issues raised.

Formation of the CMPA was reviewed by Basil Natoli who outlined the charter, and advised that family businesses are responsible for fifty percent of extractive industry sales in Victoria. Basil noted that the majority of members work in regional areas, and acknowledged that changes in legislation during the 1990’s, increasing rehabilitation bonds, plus the need for employers to have formal systems in place to provide a safe working environment for their employees all contributed to the need for the CMPA. But in particular, it was the onerous intellectual and financial obligations placed on employers following sunset of the 1989 regulations in August 2000, to have formal systems in place which attest to a safe working environment being provided for their employees.

The compilation of the Induction Handbook through the personal contributions of many members with guidance from Glen Jordan of Systec, and with review and approval of various Government Departments and the Union Movement, engenders pride and a very significant outcome for the CMPA.

The CMPA Patron, Professor Ross Williams, advised his experience was that of an Economist at the University of Melbourne. He indicated “It is absolutely essential in the modern world that organisations in any industry have representation from the middle to the smaller sized operations if they are to have a voice in society, represent the industry and get their views across”.

A second area providing a lot of benefit to all participants is the area of benchmarking where everybody gains. We benchmark internally in Universities. You will always find that somebody does something a little better than you, but by the same token you will find that you are ahead of the pack in other areas, and the spill-over effects, the benefits to all members, in the area of benchmarking are very substantial. Professor Williams stated he was “certain that benchmarking will enable every person in the industry to work at a more efficient level by increasing the flow of information, and that with the CMPA the industry will become an important component of society in the 21st century”.

Ken Mawson, Chairman of the Institute of Quarrying Education Foundation commented on the uniqueness of the social gathering to launch the Induction Handbook, with members representing our industry from across Victoria, officers of the DNRE, suppliers, consultants and insurers.

In his capacity as Chairman of the IOQ Education Foundation, Ken was delighted to say that the Foundation had contributed $10,000.00 towards the financing of the important booklet, and encouraged those present to consider joining the Institute of Quarrying.

Our Chairperson Ron Kerr then welcomed all in attendance and briefly reviewed activities of the CMPA since the first meeting held on the 6th September 1999, and thanked all for their support and attendance.

Ron outlined projects that the CMPA has underway including the Industry Benchmarking Project, Education for our Managers, Rehabilitation Bond Report to the Minister, Guidelines for Electrical Safety in Quarries, EPA Activities, Rise and Fall issues with products supplied to Contractors for Vic Roads Projects, Industry Insurance, Mining Royalties, CMPA Rule, Support for DNRE as a ‘one stop shop’ for our Industry, the Induction Handbook, and a financial plan to fund outstanding member requests over the next three years.

Ron encouraged all employers, employees and contractors to take up the initiative of the Induction Handbook; it’s training package and Induction Card. He also thanked his family for their support, as well as our patron, secretariat and various committees, and all those who contributed to the success of the evening.

EDUCATION

Practical Training for Potential Quarry Managers

The principal issues on education of our managers being addressed by the CMPA include subject content, the during which weeks training should occur, training hours at the institute and on the job, pre entry requirements, course content, examination and support for students, and a more practical set of certificates (more to follow based around elements of risk) with a state based focus and industry peer assessment governing each.

About Gavin Moreira

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