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OPINION: Too little, too late…

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The last election was a watershed moment for the Labor Party, especially here in the Hunter.

For Labor, 23 of the top 46 worst performing booths in the country were in the Hunter. 7 of the top 10 booths were in the Hunter. Labor have held the Hunter for 100 years. 2019 was the worst primary vote result they have ever recorded in the area at 37.5%.

It was a warning shot, fired over the bow and the most senior front bencher in the Labor party, Joel Fitzgibbon, narrowly clung to his seat with a 14.2% swing against him.

As far as I see it, the Labor party had a choice. Scale back its flagship zero emissions policy and risk losing seats in the city. Or retain the zero emissions target and try to shift the focus off the unpopular policy, back to an area of perceived strength. Industrial Relations.

Labor knows in order to retain the Hunter the party needs to fight the war on a different front of the battlefield, an area where the Liberal Party lack strength. The problem is, the Labor Party of today does not understand Industrial Relations the way it used too. The Labor Party of today is not the Labor Party of the 70’s and 80’s, and it shows.

On March 11, 2020, Anthony Albanese endorsed a report paid for by the CFMMEU showing the communities in the Hunter and central Queensland are having upwards of 800 million dollars a year siphoned out of their communities.

This has been done by employing people as casual when in fact they are a fulltime employee. Otherwise known as ‘sham labour contracts’.

A noble cause surely. But Mr Albanese doesn’t understand the history of this type of employment in the mining industry and the players involved. He mustn’t. If he did he would of stayed well clear of this issue and it’s a poor read by his advisors.

One Nation have been untangling the web surrounding this issue for the last 12 months and are getting action in all areas. Meetings are taking place, small scale investigations are happening, lawsuits have been filed and many more will be launched, I’m sure of that.

In other words, Mr Albanese has unknowingly wandered into a mine field, blindfolded, with a war about to start.

Both Albanese and the CFMMEU report conveniently avoided mentioning CFMMEU started the first casual labour hire company, sold it to TESA and then retained shares in TESA.

There is a detailed, complex history of Phoenixing of the companies inside the labour hire industry that continues to this day. Everyone that’s been involved in these sham labour hire companies knows what I’m talking about here. 

Some people have worked for 4 different companies and never quit once and never applied for a job. They were simply moved to another company, given a new shirt with a new Logo, along with a pay cut and sent back to work.

The report also focused of several enterprise agreements with casual terms in them. The bit they don’t mention is the report focuses on a few enterprise agreements CFMMEU did not endorse. The majority of these enterprise agreements used by the labour hire companies are done with a Union representative signature on the page.

Of course using the Union endorsed agreements would expose the fact the Union should not of signed them in the first place, but he who pays the piper calls the tunes.

They also neglected to mention the significant progress made in recent months by One Nation and specifically Malcom Roberts. The senator had exposed enormous issues inside the Coal Mining sector.

Underpayment of wages, Insurance fraud, not reporting serious incidents to the regulator, underpayment of long service leave, under payment of people’s super, companies Phoenixing themselves to avoid paying entitlements, cover ups, fraud, mismanagement.

Senator Roberts has pointed out that unlike most other industry awards, the Black Coal Award simply does not have a provision for casual employment in it. Therefore none of these enterprises agreements should of been signed and approved in the first place.

Not only are these enterprise agreements significantly below the award, but you simply cannot be employed casually under the Black Coal Award. This is well known inside the Union circles. It even says so on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website you cannot be employed casually.

So why endorse the agreements if you know they are below the award?

Mr Albanese also neglected to mention the fraudulent activity happening around the Coal Long Service Leave that Malcom Roberts uncovered in Senate Estimates. There is millions of dollars missing in Underreported hours.
Not missing hours as if someone didn’t know they had to pay into the fund, deliberately skimmed to lower costs.

The other thing Labor fails to mention is that this activity has come with them representing many of the areas affected. In the case of the Hunter, the ONLY representative we’ve had has been Labor.

I’ve said it many times, this needs a formal investigation and if I have to get into parliament to get one, I’ll do it.

There can be no doubt that the recent attention we have received in the Hunter is due to the result One Nation got in the area. After all the Nationals lost 3% of its primary vote too.

But they can’t say that. I’m like Voldemort from Harry Potter to these guys.
Nobody can mention my name for fear of generating publicity.

But I’m here, working away behind the scenes and man have we got a show for you coming up…

Thank you for your continued support.

Stuart Bonds

One Nation

Equipment

Good. Better. Best.

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Hitachi’s range of mining excavators is a dominant force in Australia. With six machines in their mining line up, they have a solution for every size and type of mine, from the versatile 120t EX1200-7 excavator through to their EX8000-6 weighing in at a whopping 837t.

Available in backhoe and face shovel configurations, these machines are highly regarded and operate globally. Instantly recognisable in their distinctive Hitachi orange, you’re most likely to find the EX2600, EX3600 and EX5600 backhoes working in the Valley.

Sitting in the sweet spot of Hitachi’s diggers is the EX3600. A stalwart of the Australian mining industry, Hitachi has deployed locally over 100 of these 370t excavators since launching the EX3600-5. Now in its third iteration, the Japanese manufactured EX3600-7 is Hitachi’s latest generation machine built upon industry feedback and the Company’s learnings in the field to produce more fuel efficient product for customers.

In a development immediately broadening the appeal of this excavator, miners now have an option of power plant with both the Cummins QSKTA60 or MTU 12V4000 on offer.

Combined with improvements in the machine’s hydraulic system, operators can reasonably expect reductions in fuel consumption between 4 – 7% compared with the previous model (the EX3600-6 with Cummins engine configuration). Further, intelligent management systems including main pump electric regulators on each individually controlled hydraulic pump as well as, a hydraulic regeneration circuit, permit this machine reduced pump demand, enhancing engine power, lowering fuel consumption and increasing productivity.

All too aware of the detrimental effects of dust and moisture ingress, Hitachi has introduced slit-less solid conduit harnesses and junction boxes. In the instance of damage, electrical harnesses between junction boxes can be replaced individually, ultimately reducing maintenance time and cost. Likewise, the cab riser now features a pressuriser system to minimise dust infiltration and extend the service life of electronic components within.

Improving upon a product that customers already like, the hydraulic hoses between the boom and main piping have been rearranged from an arch to underslung configuration removing the need for clamps, reducing deflection and increasing reliability. And I could go on, with features too numerous to contemplate in this article.

Find out more today by contacting your local Hitachi representative or go online at https://hitachicm.com.au/products/excavators.

THANKS TO COMPONENTS ONLY, OUR HEAVY EQUIPMENT EXPERTS

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Mining

NSW Leads Nation with New Facility

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Australia’s only independent underground mine explosives testing facility has opened at Freeman’s Waterhole NSW.

Paving the way for improvements in mine safety and innovation in the mining industry, the new testing facility is under the control of the NSW Resources Regulator’s Mine Safety Technology Centre (RR).

The facility, which is discreetly built on the site of a quarry to reduce impact on the surrounding environment, will be used to determine if locally made explosives are viable and meet vital safety requirements to protect the wellbeing of workers.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro recently launched the first round of explosives testing at the new facility and stated that it positions NSW as the nation’s leader in mine safety development.

“Currently, there are few explosives that can be used in underground coal mines and these kinds of explosives have a very short shelf life, they don’t travel well and need to be developed and tested locally,” Mr Barilaro said.

The RR is responsible for regulating the mining industry in NSW, which includes work, health safety matters through to environmental issues such as mine rehabilitation.

Anthony Keon, Executive Director of the Resources Regulator said the new testing facility is critical to ensure that people can have confidence in the materials and explosives being used underground. “The establishment of this facility will ensure that we’re not stifling innovation,” said Anthony.

“It will give industry and explosive manufacturers access to this test which has previously been unavailable for almost decades.

“There are limited facilities of this type throughout the world and because of the limited shelf life on these products we really need something locally based in order to open up those opportunities for NSW companies and for the NSW mining industry.”

“What the test is trying to do is ensure that explosives when used properly don’t ignite methane; and we’ve seen through numerous incidents throughout the world and even recently in Queensland the ramifications of when there isn’t an ignition of methane.”

Geoff Slater, Manager at Mine Safety Technology Centre said the development of explosives specifically for underground coal mines started back in the1890s at the Greenwich Naval Facility London. Early tests used a small bore cannon and this influenced majority of test facilities since that time.

“The facility at Freemans Waterhole uses concrete culverts and water bags to reduce the noise emissions during testing,” said Geoff.

“Extensive computer simulations were used to determine the best optimum use of the water.”

Test rounds at the facility will be scheduled to meet the needs of industry, at up to two to three times per year, restricted to work hours on weekdays.

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Community

Students Have A Yarn

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St James’ Muswellbrook welcomes a newly constructed yarning circle thanks to the generosity of Malabar Resources.

Fully funded by Malabar, the Yarning Circle will give students and teachers at St James’ Primary School in Muswellbrook the opportunity to sit together and enhance their understanding of Indigenous culture.

A Yarning Circle is an important part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and a harmonious and collaborative way of communicating. It promotes respectful relationships and provides an open environment to share cultural knowledge.

In August Malabar designed and installed the Yarning Circle which involved the placement of more than 5000kg of sandstone blocks.

Malabar’s Manager of Health, Safety, Environment and Community, Donna McLaughlin said, “We are delighted to continue building our relationship with St James’ and other schools in the region by providing resources that help their specific needs.”

“We look forward to seeing the Yarning Circle develop as native plants and artwork are added to the space, which will further facilitate cultural learning and understanding.”

The new space was enthusiastically received by students. “Thank you for this amazing and respectful area where we can teach others about our customs and traditions,” said year 6 student Tushawn.

St James’ Aboriginal Education Teacher, Tania Thompson expressed how thankful they are to have a designated place for our CREST Crew to meet and yarn.

“When we meet as a whole group from K-6 around the Yarning Circle, it gives students the opportunity to bond, form strong ties, and unite as one mob,” she said.

“Communicating, sharing and problem solving as a team are some of the extremely important life skills that we refine when meeting for Yarning Circle.”

“We learn to listen to one another and to respect the ideas and opinions of others regardless of their age, as we all have wisdom to share.”

St James’ will use the Yarning Circle as an extension of their classrooms and teaching practice to foster knowledge of Indigenous culture by engaging both indigenous and non-indigenous students and teachers.

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