Queensland miners chip in to help save brave Aimee

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                                                Mining and Energy
                                                                 VOL 74 NO.5 OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2008

                                                  Queensland miners chip in
                                                  to help save brave Aimee

      Coal Services

Don’t let Black lung
 Make a coMe Back!
                         Coal Services Pty Limited and it predecessor the Joint
                         Coal Board, are world leaders in assisting eliminate
                         dust related diseases from the coal mining industry.

                         Black lung refers to the occupational lung disease
                         of pneumoconiosis, caused by exposure to coal and
                         silica dust, in the mining environment. Black lung
                         is an insidious and irreversible condition.

                         Coal Services Health data shows that the numbers
                         of cases of dust disease in the coal industry have
                         dropped away from their peak in the early 1970s due
                         to measures that include periodic health surveillance.

                         We don’t want black lung to make a come back in NSW!

                         If you are overdue for your health assessment please
                         see your Employer and contact your local Coal Services
                         Health office to arrange for your 3 year medical,
                         or 5 year chest x-ray.

                         Ron Land
                         CSPL Executive Director

    Lithgow          Singleton       Speers Point                Woonona
(02) 6350 7300    (02) 6571 9900 (02) 4948 3100               (02) 4286 5400
                                        General President Reports

                                        Memo to Federal
                                        Government: IR reform still
                                        vital to the next election
By Tony Maher                                   possible if they do not bargain in good faith.   with the Corporations power of the
                                                Workers at Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations in    Australian Constitution.

        ederal Labor’s decisive win last year   the Pilbara and coalminers in a number of            When you look at the political
        was underpinned by the Unions           Xstrata operations could do with those laws      circumstances around the country there are
        campaign against WorkChoices.           right now. There is no credible reason to        plenty of reasons for Labor to start to worry.
Unions spoke for the whole community in         think the public would not overwhelmingly        Labor went within a hair’s-breadth of losing
their opposition to John Howard’s unfair        support Labor pushing through all its            government in the Northern Territory. They
Industrial Laws. The ACTU-led “Your Rights      promised IR reforms with greater urgency –       lost government in WA. Recent opinion polls
at Work Campaign” was the most innovative       because they are fair laws.                      put Labor behind the Coalition in South
election development for decades. The               Labor has also proposed to widen the         Australia and even Queensland. The less
Coalition had no answer for it.                 range of matters that can be bargained for.      said about New South Wales the better.
    Our Union’s own campaign in key             That was promised in Labor’s re-election             On top of that the Liberals have finally
marginal seats played a significant role in     policy Forward with Fairness. During             dispensed with the services of Brendan
delivering the seats of Dawson, Flynn and       consultations unions have been repeatedly        Nelson. The sooner than expected rise of
Macquarie for Labor. Across the whole           told that policy election promises form the      Malcolm Turnbull presents Federal Labor
CFMEU, we helped deliver in 26 seats that       bedrock of Labor’s legislative program.          with genuine opposition. Turnbull will close
are now represented by Labor MPs.                   In other words, we can’t get better          the gap and keep the Coalition competitive
    Since the election, the Rudd                than what is provided for in Forward with        at the next election.
Government has done some very important         Fairness. You would think that also means            In my view these are precisely the
things like ratifying the Kyoto Protocol,       Forward with Fairness wouldn’t be watered        circumstances that should make Labor
apologising to the Stolen Generations and       down. However, that’s not the case on the        rethink their approach of being tough with
starting the wind back on WorkChoices.          question of the matters we can bargain for.      the Unions and then throwing business
    It hasn’t opted for swift action in any     Labor proposes to retain some form of a          a bone on policy. This is not an approach
portfolio. There are comprehensive reviews      restriction by highlighting some provisions,     that Labor will get any thanks for at the
of the tax system, the welfare system,          such as bargaining agent fees that could not     next election from either side. Big business
climate change etc. We acknowledge they         form part of a certified agreement. However,     is already rallying behind a reinvigorated
have an ambitious program that is taking a      Labor appears to be going further and will be    Coalition and Malcolm Turnbull just as
lot of time.                                    relying on the concept of “matters pertaining    they rallied behind John Howard and
    Changes to industrial laws have involved    to the employment relationship” to limit         WorkChoices.
seemingly endless consultation with business    what can be bargained for.                           This doesn’t mean that Labor has to
groups and union groups. The changes                This is a worrying sign, as it appears to    give into everything the unions want – they
legislated so far have been important but       be an effort by the Federal Government to        never have – but it does mean that if Labor
nowhere near enough. Further changes            placate big business in an argument that has     is insisting they can go no further than the
foreshadowed by Deputy Prime Minister           no justification.                                policies taken to the last election, then the
Julia Gillard to operate from July next year        Either employers and workers and             Labor Government should implement those
are certainly an improvement, but there are     unions are capable of reaching agreements        policies in full and quickly. The millions of
worrying signs of the Government making         about anything they like, or they are not. .     Australian workers who voted for Labor on
unnecessary concessions to business.            That is what was proposed in Forward with        this basis at the last election deserve no less.
    In a recent speech, Gillard made it clear   Fairness and it should and must remain.              And unless Labor honours its full
that Labor will introduce improvements          “Matters pertaining” is a principle that has     commitments, it risks losing the decisive
to the system of Collective Bargaining.         no legal merit in a system developed and         support of those that brought it to
Enforceable orders against employers will be    intended to be implemented in accordance         government. n

Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008                                                                                   COMMON CausE                  3
                                                      General Secretary Reports

                                                      Why our mining communities
                                                      deserve much more from the
                                                      resources boom
                                                      by Peter Murray

            espite the massive earnings from          escalate, these problems will only get worse          Interestingly, the Queensland Resources
            the resources boom that are               and it is time that our communities held State    Council CEO Michael Roche welcomed
            underpinning Australia’s economy,         and Federal governments and the mining            the State Government’s funding for
our communities are being left far behind in          companies to account.                             “communities that contribute so much to
its wake.                                                 For years now, the mining companies have      Queensland’s prosperity”, which is all well
    The fact is that social infrastructure            failed to invest in developing mining towns       and good – but what about the mining
and services to the workers and families              and creating healthy communities, too often       companies he represents, what are they
of regional mining communities are sub-               opting instead for fly-in-fly-out alternatives.   going to do?
standard and way below those that our                 Governments at a State and Federal level have         Nothing is the answer, unless they are
people deserve.                                       been guilty of letting them get away with it      forced to. Recently they screamed like stuck
    In a nutshell, very little of the vast wealth     while happy to pocket the billions in revenue     pigs when the Queensland Government
that is taken from the mines throughout our           that has flowed from the boom.                    announced the first increase in coal royalty
regions is trickling down to our communities.             There are some signs that the political       payments in years – a modest lift from 7%
But all of the problems associated with the           chickens are coming home to roost as              to 10% for coal valued at over $100 a tonne.
boom are flooding us.                                 voters in mining regions start to flex their          At least the Queensland Government is
    Federal and State governments, along              electoral muscles. The recent change of           moving on the issue. In New South Wales,
with the mining companies, are reaping                Government in Western Australia was due           the State Government is trying to plug its
a financial windfall while our mining                 in no small measure to a resurgent political      financial problems by auctioning off coal
communities are struggling with inadequate            party that demanded a greater share of the        leases while refusing to raise its coal royalty
housing, services and facilities right across         revenue earned from the resources industry        levy above the existing 7%.
the resources spectrum, from Western                  be returned to the regional communities in            The NSW Government is expected to
Australia to Queensland and from New                  which they were produced.                         announce the auctioning of 11 new coal
South Wales through to South Australia.                   In Queensland, the Bligh State Labor          exploration areas. The two most recent
    The world’s biggest mining companies              Government is waking up to the issue              auctions brought in $675 million and $235
like BHP, Rio Tinto and Xstrata are now               recently announcing a $A100 million plan          million from the successful bidders, with a
counting their profits in billions of dollars a       to boost facilities in regional mining towns.     reported 45% paid in advance.
month while we have workers subjected to              Under the government’s Sustainable                    Now there is nothing wrong with the
15-hour days and many who are forced to               Resources Communities Agreement the               NSW Government getting the best deal
sleep in their vehicles or share the same bed         social impacts of resource developments           it can for the taxpayers, but to release so
on a shift-by-shift rotation.                         on regional towns will be assessed in             many areas at a time when the State’s
    Families are being wrenched apart                 the planning stages. The Premier says it          infrastructure cannot cope with the present
in our communities because of the work                will be backed by a $100 million funding          levels of production, smacks of desperation.
demands of the boom. We have severely                 program over three years for economic and         It also shows how much the State’s
fatigued mineworkers being forced to drive            social infrastructure in regional and rural       economy depends on the coal industry.
on the roads because they cannot find                 communities in key mining areas.                      To sum up, the Australian economy is
accommodation in the regions where they                   Projects may include new or upgraded          being carried by the resources boom while the
are employed.                                         roads, schools and health facilities. While       biggest mining companies in the world reap
    The massive gap between the provision of          we welcome this, it is simply not enough.         skyrocketing record profits. The people in our
social and industrial infrastructure is light years   The mining companies must be made to do           mining communities in which this great wealth
behind the demands of the mining boom.                more to meet their community obligations          is produced deserve better and our Union
With predictions of the boom continuing to            as their profits continue to go gangbusters.      will continue to fight for a fair go for all. n

4           COMMON CausE                                                                                         Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008
13th Northern District annual Mineworkers Memorial Day

No compromise on health and safety

        his year’s 13th Northern District
        Annual Mineworkers Memorial
        Day, held on 24 August, heard a
stirring address on mine safety and health
issues from Stuart Barnett, Slater & Gordon
Lawyers Newcastle Practice Group Leader.
    Stuart has represented mineworkers
and our families for over 26 years and
been involved in cases concerning close
to 30 mineworkers fatalities. In this extract
from his keynote speech Stuart addresses
the importance of safety vigilance and           Some of those who paid tribute to our Northern District coal miners killed at work.
practices to prevent injuries and urges no
compromise on health and safety issues
in mining:
    I want to urge upon the workforce
the need to prevent injury and its
consequences, because rarely does the
monetary compensation make up for what
injured workers and their families lose.
    The effect of injury on the community is
large, we could talk about the fact that work
related injuries costs the community an
enormous amount of money. But this can’t
measure the effects on workers and their
families. The obvious effect of an injury,
particularly those that lead to long periods     Northern District President Ian Murray addressing      Keynote speaker Stuart Barnett.
off work, or even an inability to return to      the Memorial Service.

work ever again, is the loss of income.
Compensation goes nowhere near replacing         probably going down, or at least stabilising.          always stayed with me. As often happens
wages. In the long term for example a            There will be less permanent injury claims             after a major incident people start talking
mineworker with a dependant partner and a        upon the insurer than injuries in a year               about new rules or changing rules. The
couple of kids could end up on something         because many injuries don’t lead to                    same thing happened. This chap said to
like $450 gross per week. This means that        immediate need for treatment or are carried            me: “Stuart, there are already rules in place
the family can no longer afford the lifestyle    by the workers or hidden by the system.                to have prevented what happened”.
they had been enjoying or working towards.           So you work in a dangerous industry                     The more cases I am involved in the
    Don’t think it won’t happen to you.          that I have heard some say is the most                 more I find those words to be true.
Statistics from a couple of year ago in NSW      dangerous in the world. What this says to                   I can’t actually ever recall a situation
show that between 100,000 and 200,000            me is that you cannot rely on your employer            where we have come to the conclusion
workers will suffer injury in a year.            to protect you even though they have the               that what happened was so novel that it
    In mining, that is all mining in NSW in      statutory responsibility.                              had never been at least broadly covered by
2006, the rate was 312 per 1,000 people              You must take care of yourself because             some laws, rules or regulations. The point
– the highest of all industry groups. In coal    the compensation available will never really           he was making was that we need to enforce
mining I believe the rate is even higher than    compensate you.                                        the rules we have and encourage people to
the various averages. That is not to say             Something that a relative of a deceased            comply with them. n
that the claim rate is going up; in fact it is   mineworker said to me many years ago has

Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008                                                                                            COMMON CausE               5
union welcomes “well balanced”
Garnaut Report on climate change

          s this issue of Common Cause            to the world.                                          Tony Maher has just been appointed
          goes to press, our Union has                 “Garnaut emphasises that climate              to the Federal Government’s Carbon
          welcomed the final Garnaut Report       change can only be successfully addressed          Storage Taskforce. The Taskforce includes
as “a well balanced blueprint for effectively     through a global response. He points out           representatives from across all sectors of
tackling the challenges of climate change”.       that even if Australia were to act in a radical    the energy industry as well as scientific and
    General President Tony Maher told             unilateral manner and cut all our emissions        infrastructure specialists, the environment
Common Cause that Professor Garnaut has           to zero tomorrow, it would have no effect on       movement and State and Federal
set Australia’s response to climate change        the global reality of climate change.              governments.
within a realistic global perspective.                 “He warns that it would be foolish                The Taskforce is charged with developing
    “This report injects some realism into        to damage our economy as this would                a National Plan within six-months which
the debate on climate change. It shows how        provide a disastrous example to the rest           identifies appropriate storage sites and
Australia can become a responsible world          of the world and an excuse not to do               prioritises the infrastructure required to link
leader on this issue while at the same time       anything. The Report outlines a number of          them with power stations.
protecting our economy.                           measures that we can embrace now and                   Tony Maher told Common Cause that
    “It is not full of high-sounding words but    make Australia a world leader in achieving         this shows the Federal Government is
rather practical proposals on how we can          targets to tackle climate change, among            committed to action on low emission energy
play our role in tackling climate change”.        them the development of low emission coal          production. “Our Union will continue to play
    Tony Maher welcomed the Report’s              technology through Carbon Capture and              a leading role in meeting the challenges of
focus on Australia setting a positive example     Storage (CCS)”.                                    climate change”, he said. n

special Central Council meeting endorses
Xstrata campaign          Present at Council

                                                                                             National Officials: Tony Maher, General President;
           ur Union’s Central Council met in special session in Sydney on
                                                                                             and Andrew Vickers General Vice President.
           9 September and endorsed a comprehensive campaign against
                                                                                             Northern District: Ian Murray, Ross Whitaker,
           the giant Xstrata multinational’s offensive against Union collective
                                                                                             Todd Hardy and Russell Trappel.
bargaining in the coal industry.
                                                                                             South Western District: Wayne McAndrew and
    Central Council condemned Xstata’s “anti-Union practices” as well as the
                                                                                             Andy Honeysett.
multinational’s growing contempt for the welfare of mining communities.
                                                                                             Queensland District: Greg Betts, Frank Baker,
    The Union is also calling on Federal Labor MPs “for quick and meaningful
                                                                                             Shane Brunker and Chris Brodsky.
amendments of the IR laws” as Xstrata seeks to exploit the remaining
                                                                                             NSW Energy District: Allen Drew.
provisions of the Howard Government’s WorkChoices laws that were so
                                                                                             Victorian District: Luke Van Der Meulen.
overwhelmingly rejected by the electorate last year.
                                                                                             Tasmanian District: Chris Hinds.
    As Common Cause goes to press, our Union’s Rank and File are
                                                                                             Western Australia District: Gary Wood.
considering the Central Council’s recommendations.
                                                                                             Apology: Peter Murray. n

union agreements deliver for Xstrata

         strata took out the top four spots for   impediment to high productivity but rather         1 mine in Central Queensland with 6.26
         Australia’s highest longwall producers   they enhance it.                                   million tonnes while nearby Oaky North
         in 2007-08 and all the mines have             The Beltana mine in the NSW Northern          produced 5.34 million tonnes.
collective agreements with the Union.             District topped the table producing 7.85               Fourth on the list was Xstrata’s Newlands
    The performances of all four mines            million tonnes for the financial year.             Northern in Central Queensland with 4.4
prove that Union agreements are no                     Second was Xstrata’s Oaky Creek No.           million tonnes. n

6         COMMON CausE                                                                                         Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008
Coal vital to our future – that’s why australia
needs to be a world leader in CCs
By Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

         limate change is one of the greatest                                                        critical need to commit globally to 20 fully
         challenges of our time - and our                                                            integrated, industrial scale, CCS demonstration
         response must be decisive. It must                                                          projects by 2010 and the broad deployment
also be delivered in a way that helps us                                                             of this technology by 2020.
build a stronger economy for the future.                                                                 Australia needs to be a leader in
    That’s why the Government is                                                                     this effort. It’s important for jobs. And it’s
committed to developing cleaner solutions                                                            important for our future economy. That
for Australia’s current energy sources.                                                              is why the Government will establish and
    Eighty per cent of Australia’s electricity                                                       host a Global Carbon Capture and Storage
comes from coal-fired power generation.                                                              Institute. The Global CCS Institute will
Coal will continue to provide most of our                                                            have a specific mandate to accelerate the
electricity for decades while we build our                                                           global adoption of carbon capture and
renewable and gas capacity in response to                                                            storage. Apart from the global response
climate change. Coal also fires about 40%                                                            to the current international financial crisis,
of the world’s power generation and will                                                             carbon capture and storage holds the key
continue to do so.                                                                                   to environmentally sustainable economic
    It is our biggest export and demand                                                              growth. The Government is already supporting
for our coal is insatiable at a time of                                                              a range of carbon capture and storage
unprecedented global growth led by China                                                             projects, including the Otway Basin carbon
and India. Australia’s coal resources alone,                                                         storage demonstration project in Victoria.
assuming the advent of successful low            storage, or CCS, is a vital part of Australia’s -       The race to make carbon capture and
emissions coal technologies, could remain        and the world’s - clean energy future.              storage a reality requires a strong partnership
significant for several hundred years.               The International Energy Agency says            between governments, industry, the research
    The challenge for Australia is that,         improved energy efficiency and carbon capture       community, the labour and environmental
as of 2005, 40% of energy related CO2            and storage are the two most viable options         movements, and the community at large.
emissions came from coal fired electricity       for the world to reduce greenhouse emissions.       It is time for us all to put our shoulders to
generation. That’s why carbon capture and        The G8 meeting in Japan agreed there is a           the wheel. n

Clinton and British PM back Rudd’s coal initiative

     n his recent address to the UN, Prime       Clinton met with Kevin Rudd to sign a               came less than a week after he launched
     Minister Rudd emphasised that the           memorandum of understanding between                 Australia’s $100 million a year world-first
     development of low emission coal has        Mr Clinton’s Foundation and the Australian          Global Institute of Carbon Capture and
to be at the “forefront of the agenda” to cut    Prime Minister’s Global Institute for Carbon        Storage aimed at harnessing global efforts
global carbon pollution from power stations      Capture and Storage.                                towards developing low emission coal
and not destroy the coal industry.                   British Prime Minister Gordon Brown             technology.
    The Prime Minister was joined by former      also met Prime Minister Rudd and he                     Mr Rudd said the significant problem
US president Bill Clinton to refocus attention   supports the Australian plan.                       was “transferring CCS good intentions into
on how best to capture and store carbon              “This collaboration will help accelerate        CCS reality”, which he hoped could be
emissions to reduce global greenhouse gases.     the development of carbon capture and               overcome through the Australian carbon
    Mr Clinton has agreed through the            storage technology and pave the way for its         capture institute. The institute has two
William J.Clinton Foundation to collaborate      commercial deployment by the end of the             organising principles, he said: “One is around
to “deploy carbon capture and storage            next decade”, Mr Rudd said.                         research and the second is around project
technology to large-scale projects”. Mr              The Prime Minister’s UN address                 facilitation”. n

Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008                                                                                        COMMON CausE                  7
Qld miners chip in to
help save brave aimee
          s this issue of Common Cause            US, “we decided to give it our best shot”.
          goes to press, Aimee Anderson,              Mineworkers from the Peak Downs and
          a young mother of three, is             Goonyella/Riverside mines were supported
recovering from a life-saving operation           by staff and raised $100,000. They then
made possible by the generosity of Central        approached their employer, BHP, who                    Aimee and Matt Anderson pictured with their
                                                                                                         three sons Rohan, Quinn and Corey.
Queensland’s Moranbah mining community,           agreed to match their donation dollar for
sparked by the miners at our Union’s Peak         dollar.
                                                                                                              Mick’s son (and Aimee’s brother) is
Downs Lodge with the support of the                   “Aimee’s plight brought the best out in
                                                                                                         Clinton Schifcofske, the former Canberra
Goonyella/Riverside Lodge.                        everyone as a mining community and we
                                                                                                         Raiders Rugby League star and ex-Rugby
    Aimee has been given a second shot at         are delighted to have been able to help”,
                                                                                                         Union international. Clinton grew up in
life following a successful operation in the      Terry Low told Common Cause.
                                                                                                         Moranbah and played his first football there
Untied States for a rare brain tumour.                Aimee’s bravery and determination
                                                                                                         and has never forgotten where he came from.
    Peak Downs Lodge President Terry              to fight the rare cancer inspired the
                                                                                                              Aimee’s husband Matt Anderson’s family
Low told Common Cause that Aimee is               community’s response. Her father Mick
                                                                                                         have also been great supporters of the
the daughter of one of the most respected         has been a stalwart at the Peak Downs
                                                                                                         mineworkers and regularly donated prizes
members of our Union and the community,           Lodge and a great community activist in
                                                                                                         for the annual May Day events.
Mick Schifcofske, and when the mineworkers        junior sport. Indeed, as a tribute to his
                                                                                                              “They are all part of the big mining
learned that Aimee’s only real chance             untiring work with the youth, Moranbah’s
                                                                                                         community family that our Union is proud to
of beating this cancer was an expensive           High School footy oval is named the Mick
                                                                                                         be a leading part of”, said Terry Low. n
operation by a world leading surgeon in the       Schifcofske Oval.

NsW Labor’s ‘New Team’ must scrap
Old Theme of power privatisation
        he most important factor in the
        recent spectacular demise of
        NSW Premier Morris Iemma and
his Treasurer Michael Costa was their
determination to push the privatisation
of the State’s power industry against the
overwhelming opposition of their own Party
and the general public.
    With a new Premier and his ‘New Team’
now at the helm, our Union has called on
the NSW Government to abandon the old
theme of electricity privatisation immediately.
    Our Union’s NSW Energy Secretary
Lorraine Usher has urged new Premier
Nathan Rees to get back in touch with             CFMEU members in the forefront of the fight against privatisation.

the electorate and the grass roots of the
labour movement who are overwhelmingly            dollars in earning to the Government.                  and Costa and the best start they can make
opposed to power privatisation.                       “Premier Rees and his New Team should              is to respect the wishes of the electorate
    “The people of NSW don’t want a fire          show that they are genuine in tackling the             and scrap power privatisation”, said
sale of a State asset that returns billions of    disastrous polices that brought down Iemma             Lorraine Usher. n

8         COMMON CausE                                                                                             Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008
aimee’s family’s tribute to Miners
and our union

A very proud Mick Schifcofske with his wife Jenny.      Clinton Schifcofske taking a ‘Kodak moment’ with some local kids in Moranbah recently.

         he following is from a letter by Mick          the best surgeon in the world, given her the              “The Union has been maligned and
         Schifcofske to the Peak Downs                  chance to hopefully spend a normal and                denigrated by some over the years and if
         CFMEU Lodge on behalf of Aimee’s               loving time with her three boys that she so           these ignorant few would open their eyes
extended family:                                        desperately yearns for, and has stopped               they would realise the reason we exist is
    “I am writing this small letter on behalf           Jenny’s and my world from being tipped                because of our solidarity and togetherness
of Jenny, myself, Aimee and Matt and our                upside down.                                          and to stand up for our rights and make life
other three kids and their families to thank                “As I have told Terry (Peak Downs                 at workplaces and our homes a fairer and
every single one of you for the heartfelt and           President), we had tears in our eyes after            better place for us all.
caring support you have shown us in our                 being told of your wonderful support but it               “As I have said to Jenny, we have our
desperate hour of need with our daughter                did not surprise me because I have worked             own family, but I always regard my fellow
Aimee.                                                  at Peak Downs for 35 years and I have seen            members and our organisation as a whole
    “Your wonderful support, along with the             over that time all of the wonderful things            as our second family.
Goonyella Lodge and BMA here at Peak                    our Union has done for so many different                  “We enjoyed a prosperous and
Downs, has enabled us to take Aimee to                  people from all walks of life.                        wonderful lifestyle in Moranbah and owe
                                                                                                              it all to being a member of such a strong
                                                                                                              and united group of people. Along with
                                                                                                              many other good people, I have been a part
                                                                                                              of some very hard and bitter struggles to
                                                                                                              improve our conditions and standards over
                                                                                                              the years, but with Aimee’s problem it is
                                                                                                              going to be our toughest fight yet. We know
                                                                                                              with you all behind us fighting, I am positive
                                                                                                              it’s a fight we will win.
                                                                                                                  “So to all you wonderful people, we
                                                                                                              are at a loss to express in words as to how
                                                                                                              dependant, humbled and forever grateful
                                                                                                              we are to you and to say it’s this support
                                                                                                              and your many calls of love and wishes for
                                                                                                              Aimee that keeps us going. We are very
                                                                                                              positive and with God’s grace and our faith
                                                                                                              in him, Aimee will pull through okay.
Pictured are Peak downs Lodge Executive leaders with Mick Schifcofske. From left to right are Justin Winter
(about to shake Mick’s hand), Secretary/Treasurer; Terry Low, President; and Kev Adams, Vice-President.           Yours in Unity, and God bless you all”. n

Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008                                                                                                  COMMON CausE                9
 Trial date set for CFMEu union
 leader facing 6-months jail

 T                                                 Why our union
          he Victorian Court has set aside
          December 2-3 for the trial of CFMEU
          official Noel Washington, who has        is backing
 been charged with refusing to attend a            construction
 compulsory interview with the Howard
 Government’s industrial police force in the
                                                       Our Union is giving its full support to a
 construction industry.
                                                   campaign to pressure the Rudd Government
     For refusing to reveal what occurred at
                                                   to restore democratic and civil rights to
 a union meeting and have his civil liberties
                                                   workers in the construction industry.
 thrashed, Noel Washington faces a possible
                                                       We believe that the draconian repressive
 6-months in jail. He is the first Australian to
                                                   powers of the Howard Government’s
 be brought to trial under these particular
                                                   Australian Building Construction Commission
 provisions introduced by the Howard
                                                   (ABCC) have no place in a democratic
 Government that are regarded as the most
 oppressive industrial laws in the Western
                                                       The ABCC has forced ordinary workers
 world.                                                                                                Noel Washington addresses the rally outside the
                                                   to attend interrogations under threat of            Geelong Court.
     Noel Washington’s first Court
                                                   six months jail. The workers have no right
 appearance on 12 September was marked
                                                   to silence, and cannot refuse to attend.            legacy of Howard’s unfair IR laws. No
 with a rally by construction workers and
                                                   Afterwards, they are not allowed speak to           other workers, apart from workers in the
 supporters outside the courtroom in
                                                   anyone about what was discussed in the              construction industry, are faced with this sort
 Geelong while workers in other States also
                                                   interrogation – not even to their families.         of heavy-handed and undemocratic assault
 demonstrated in solidarity with the Victorian
                                                       The ABCC powers are sweeping –                  on their human rights”, said Dave Noonan.
 Union leader.
                                                   workers and their representatives can be                “The ABCC was set up to benefit
     CFMEU Construction National Secretary
                                                   fined and jailed; union meetings can be             Howard’s mates in the construction industry.
 Dave Noonan said it was “amazing” that
                                                   secretly recorded; their choice of legal            Now the big end of town is pushing to keep
 Federal Labor, “elected to restore Australians
                                                   representation can be denied.                       the ABCC in a desperate attempt to keep
 rights at work, should care so little about the
                                                       National Secretary of the CFMEU                 their massive profits and intimidate workers
 rights of the 900,000 construction workers
                                                   Construction Division Dave Noonan                   from speaking up about safety and their
 who built this country.
                                                   describes the ABCC as “the most repressive          rights on site”, says Dave Noonan.      n
     “When people like Noel are facing six
 months in prison for upholding their civil
 liberties and democratic rights, two years
 from now to reform these laws simply isn’t
 soon enough”, he said.
     The Rudd Government is refusing to
 immediately abolish these repressive laws
 and is committed to keeping them in place
 until January 2010, as well as maintaining
 the Howard Government’s industrial police
 force until then.
     However, our Union, with the support of
 the entire Australian trade union movement,
                                                   Union members and supporters rally in Geelong to support Noel Washington’s stand against the
 is fighting to end these unjust laws now.
                                                   repressive powers of the ABCC.

           To support Australian construction workers fighting the most repressive industrial laws in the Western world
                                         visit the campaign website:

10         COMMON CausE                                                                                        Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008
union mineworkers at BHP’s Wa iron ore
operations win new collective agreement

           nion mineworkers at BHP’s Pilbara     first year, plus a $4,000 one-off payment.       members stood strong and united and have
           iron ore operations who have held         In the new collective agreement loco         now reaped the benefits of a collective
           out for years against AWAs have       drivers are aligned to other Departments         agreement and all the protections that go
voted up a new three-year Union collective       working an even time roster of an average of     with it”.
agreement that provides a 7% upfront             42 hours per week.                                    Gary Wood said that the new collective
pay rise, and 5% increases in each of the            Our Union’s WA Secretary Gary Wood           agreement provides for consultation with
following two years.                             said the new collective agreement is “a          employees and their representatives
    The collective agreement covers              victory for the courage and resilience of        involving any proposed changes.
members of our Union, the CEPU, AWU,             the Union members. They have been                     “This gives us the opportunity to reject
AMWU and TWU at Newman and Port                  doing it real tough for the last nine years      any negative changes that might impact on
Hedland.                                         as BHP used every weapon the Howard              our Union members”, he said. “It is a huge
    The workers early this year rejected an      Government gave them to cripple the Union        breakthrough for the right to collectively
offer from the company for a 2% rise in the      and collective bargaining. But the Union         bargain in the Pilbara”. n

Big win for Rio’s Pilbara union mineworkers
    Despite its best efforts to cling to         Rio “on no less than seven times seeking         electorate had rejected WorkChoices.
WorkChoices, Rio Tinto is facing the threat      meetings with the employer, but these                 “Australian employers need to respect
of industrial action at its Pilbara operations   approaches were rejected.                        the basic democratic right of Australian
in Western Australia for the first time in 15        “We submitted a comprehensive Draft          workers to choose to bargain collectively”,
years after our Union won the right for a        Enterprise Agreement, which contains             he said. “Rather than bargaining in good
protected action ballot to be conducted          important improvements for loco drivers but      faith, Rio Tinto is attempting to cling to
on October 4, as Common Cause goes to            also guarantees the productivity of Rio Tinto,   WorkChoices until the Rudd Government’s
press.                                           but management had not even the courtesy         industrial relations changes become law in
    In a decision issued on 24 September         to reply to the issues raised in the draft       July 2009”.
in the Australian Industrial Relations           agreement”.                                           Andrew Vickers told Common Cause that
Commission, loco drivers won approval                Gary Wood told Common Cause that             our Union has called on the Rudd Government
to hold a secret ballot for industrial action    “every step of the bargaining process has        to “move quicker to undo WorkChoices and
against Rio Tinto’s Hamersley Iron and           involved direct consultation with members of     deliver on its promises to the Australian
Pilbara Iron Company (Services).                 the CFMEU Karratha Lodge. The original log       people. The Federal Government has a clear
    The workers are members of our Union         of claims, the draft agreement and the legal     mandate to abolish WorkChoices. All the
who have been attempting to transfer             strategy have all been thoroughly discussed      polls after the election show that Labor’s
from now outlawed AWAs to a collective           with members of the Lodge and it has their       commitment to IR reform was decisive in
agreement, but Rio Tinto has steadfastly         full support”.                                   winning them the election and they should
refused to negotiate.                                Gary said that although Rio Tinto’s          get on with dismantling WorkChoices now
    Our Union’s WA Secretary Gary Wood           website claims that the company “…               and establishing the full rights for workers to
told Common Cause that the CFMEU                 encourage strong union representation...”,       bargain collectively”, he said.
Karratha Lodge Executive of Dennis Jones,        Rio “have used the big city law firm Freehills        Andrew Vickers said that the
President, Justin Parry, Secretary/Treasurer     to try to find any technicality to stop us       Commission’s decision was an important
and Dallas Mumford, Vice-President, with         bargaining collectively. It should be noted      breakthrough on the long road to restoring
the support of the Union, have been trying       that Freehills is one of the legal firms that    Rio workers rights in the Pilbara. The General
to formally negotiate a Union collective         was used by the Howard Government to             Vice-President paid tribute to the outstanding
agreement since the 2nd of June 2008.            help draft WorkChoices”.                         work of our Union’s legal officers: “They
“However, Rio Tinto has flatly rejected any          Our Union’s General President Vice-          prepared magnificently for this case and
approach for discussions”.                       President Andrew Vickers said it was time        gave us the chance to continue to fight for a
    Gary said that our Union had written to      Rio Tinto accepted that the Australian           fair go in the Pilbara”, he said.   n

Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008                                                                                     COMMON CausE                11
safety officers usa visit shows – the
stronger the union, the safer the Mine

              ith an emphasis on promoting
              a greater mutual understanding
              of health and safety issues
in the coal mining industry, our Union
in Queensland was invited to send two
representatives to the United States recently
to meet with a cross section of industry.
     The invitation was extended by the
National Institute for Occupational Safety
& Health (NIOSH)) and the District sent
full-time Union Inspector Steve Smyth and
Chris Gilbert, check inspector from the
Broadmeadow Lodge. They met with officials
from the United Mine Workers, NIOSH and             Steve Smyth addressing an MSHA seminar in the United States.
coal owners representatives.
     Steve Smyth told Common Cause that             the health and safety of all Union members”.       industry testing and research departments”.
their trip included attending the 12th North            Steve said that strengthening the                  Steve told Common Cause that last
American ventilation symposium in Nevada            relationship between Australian and                year in the USA there were 34 deaths in
and visits to many sites to discuss a wide          American health and safety officers was            coal mines and of this total 30 were non-
range of issues. These included extensive           important in holding the multinational             union members. “The lessons are clear.
discussions on dust control, fires, equipment       mining companies that operate in both our          The experience in the US mines clearly
failures and mines rescue.                          countries to account.                              demonstrates that the stronger the Union
     “The trip was very worthwhile and we               “The issues we face are the same no            the safer the mine.
gained a lot of information which in the            matter what country you work in. For example,          With the booming expansion of the coal
current climate will assist us in dealing with      lack of skilled labour, hazardous conditions       industry, we need to be ahead of the game
challenging health and safety issues in our         and the spread of non-union labour in              on health and safety. To do this effectively,
coal industry”, Steve told Common Cause.            the mines. It was scary being told that the        we need to keep our Union strong in the
     “We were given the most up to date             decision on whether you live or die in a coal      mining industry to ensure the highest
information and research on mine seal               mine is dependent on if you are a member           commitment to health and safety in the
standards, mine rescue and first response,          of the Union or not. We were told this by a        mines”, Steve Smyth told Common Cause.
issues that are important to us in ensuring         senior person from within the USA mining           n

us coal producers lash out at increased safety checks

          elieve it or not, US coal producers       citations and orders were up by nearly 8%.         in 2006 that killed 12 and the Crandall
          have lashed out at safety regulators,         Coal producers say the increased safety        Canyon mine collapse which killed nine.
          saying their safety actions are cutting   enforcement action has stifled production              But present-day safety enforcement has
production and pushing up costs per ton.            and increased production costs.                    led to an outcry by coal producers.
     Coal operators are accusing federal                In light of accidents in recent years              However, MSHA Assistant Secretary
safety watchdog the Mine Safety and Health          MSHA has come under increased political            of Labor Richard Stickler said safety
Administration (MSHA) of over-the-top               pressure to up the ante over safety                enforcement was improving safety
safety enforcement, according to news               measures.                                          underground.
reports from CNN.                                       In the past the agency was criticised for           “We’re making more inspections, we’re
     During the first 10 months of fiscal 2008,     failing to perform mandatory inspections           writing more violations and we’re assessing
MSHA dished out $US97.4 million in fines,           at underground coal mines, despite fatal           higher penalties. That’s our job”, Stickler said.
a 141% increase from last year’s total, and         accidents including the Sago mine explosion        n

12        COMMON CausE                                                                                             Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008
australia today –
Profit share of economy hits 50-year
high while wages fall to 43-year low
        he latest figures released in Australia’s National Accounts data say it all about the shocking inequality fostered by the Howard
        Government that the Rudd Government needs to redress. The share of the economy going to profits has hit the highest level since
        the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) started keeping records in 1959. Meanwhile, the share allocated to wages has hit a new
Australian 43-year low. Mining companies, on the back of a massive resources boom, are recording the most spectacular profits.
Here are some of them:

$       BHP sets new                              the back of half-year production records           significant improvements achieved at the
                                                  achieved for coal and six of its other             export-orientated Clarence and also at
        profit record                             commodities.                                       Myuna.
    BHP posted a new Australian record                Hard coking coal production in                     “Beyond the 2009 financial year,
profit, its seventh record profit in a row.       Queensland recovered significantly from            Centennial has a sound platform for future
    The mining giant posted a record profit       flooding in the first half, while soft coking      growth”, Cameron said. “Work to increase
of $US15.39 billion ($A17.8 billion) for          coal production in the NSW Hunter Valley           export capacity at Springvale and Mandalong
the 12 months ending June 30, a 14.7%             increased to take advantage of stronger            continues to schedule, with the group’s
increase on the previous year.                    pricing.                                           strategy to increase its exposure to market-
    BHP’s metallurgical coal earnings fell to         Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese         priced coal sales on track”.
just below $1 billion due to costs incurred       said in a statement the unprecedented

                                                                                                     $        Wesfarmers
from flooding in Queensland earlier this year.    demand for minerals and metals is
    But the company said it had experienced
a strong recovery and with a continued
                                                  expected to continue.
                                                                                                              pulls in profits

                                                  $          Centennial                                  Wesfarmers has reported a 34% jump
tight market the outlook for its coking coal
                                                                                                     in net profit for 2007-08 to a net profit
business is “great”.
    In contrast, BHP’s thermal coal made a
                                                             posts record                            of $A1.05 billion, partly on the back of its

record profit of $1.05 billion, an increase of               profit                                  resources division which was able to take
                                                                                                     advantage of higher export coal sale prices.
nearly 120% from the previous year.                   The sale of Anvil Hill and Austral Coal
                                                                                                         The resources division achieved a 25%
    BHP said annual production records            and good performances from Centennial
                                                                                                     increase to $423 million in earnings before
were set in seven commodities, while              Coal’s long wall mines pushed the NSW
                                                                                                     interest and tax.
production increased in a further six             mining company to a record $A289 million
                                                                                                         Wesfarmers is positive in its outlook,
commodities.                                      net profit for 2007-08.
                                                                                                     citing record export prices underpinned by
    While BHP did recognise short-term                “The 2008 financial year has been
                                                                                                     strong export market fundamentals. n
global economic challenges such as financial      underpinned by strong production and the
market instability and inflationary pressures,    settlement of a record export thermal price”,
it expected the commodity demand in               said Centennial managing director Bob                COVER
emerging economies such as China to               Cameron. “The strength of our operations             The main picture on the cover of this issue
                                                                                                       features Aimee and Matt Anderson and
continue.                                         and prices bode well for a significant uplift in     their three children Rohan, Quinn and Corey
                                                  profitability for the 2009 financial year.”          (Courtesy of the Central Queensland paper,

$       Rio Tinto profit                                                                               The Daily Mercury). Details of the other three
                                                      Centennial’s longwall operations                 pictures on page 9.

        up 113% to                                performed well during the year, with
                                                  Mandalong producing a record 4.8 million             Common Cause is published by Tony Maher
        new record                                tonnes in its third full year of operation.
                                                                                                       for the Mining and Energy Division of the
                                                                                                       Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy
    Rio Tinto has reported a record profit            Newstan also returned to full production         Union (CFMEU).
                                                                                                       Editor: Paddy Gorman.
of $US6.9 billion for the first half of 2008,     with a record March 2008 quarter, enabling
                                                                                                       Level 1, 365 Sussex Street, Sydney 2000.
up 113% on the result for the previous            Awaba to return to the export market.                Phone: (02) 9267 1035, Fax: (02) 9267 3198.
corresponding period.                                 The group’s continuous miner                     Designed & Printed by Breakout
                                                                                                       Phone (02) 9283 0123
    Rio’s new record profit comes on              operations also performed well, with

Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008                                                                                        COMMON CausE                   13
Our union rallies to andrew Curtis
and his young family
General secretary                                                                                     Memorabilia
commends outstanding
Rank and File leader                                                                                  auction open to all
                                                                                                           The Blackwater Lodge has assembled

             ur Union was shocked when we                                                             a great collection of Memorabilia for
             learned that one of our most                                                             auction to assist the Curtis family
             capable and dedicated rank and                                                           that includes:
file leaders Andrew Curtis was diagnosed                                                              •	   2006	framed	Broncos	Premiership	
with the crippling Motor Neurone disease.                                                                  jersey;
Now, along with his fellow miners in Central                                                          •	   Signed	and	framed	Steve	Menzies	
Queensland, the Union is rallying to support                                                               Manly playing jersey;
Andrew and his family as he undergoes                                                                 •	   Signed	and	framed	Matt	Bowen	
treatment.                                                                                                 Cowboys playing jersey;
     General Secretary Peter Murray told                                                              •	   NRL	signed	and	framed	jerseys	from	
Common Cause that Andrew is facing                                                                         Roosters, Titans, Penrith, Canberra;
his ordeal “with the same courage and                                                                 •	   Queensland	State	of	Origin	jersey	
determination that he has shown in his work                                                                signed by Wally Lewis and his
                                                 Andrew Curtis pictured during a break at Central
and his life. We are urging our Lodges and       Council.                                                  conquering side of the 1980s.
our members to get behind Andrew and                                                                       Pre-bidding for auction items will
his young family as they face a significant      told Common Cause.                                   be accepted, so any Lodge or Branch of
financial burden in obtaining treatment for          The Blackwater Lodge is holding a                the Union that wishes to contribute can
this disease”.                                   Benefit Day for Andrew on Saturday 8                 contact the organisers:
     Peter Murray said the Curtis family needs   November at the Senior Crushers field with           Contact
to purchase specialist equipment and they        the gates opening at 5pm.                            Sean Daly on 0488 072 309;
also require house renovations to assist             The programme includes the Under                 Grant Broadhurst on 0409 346 498.
in making Andrew’s life as comfortable as        13s Primary School Challenge at 6pm with
possible.                                        North School playing Wey Street for the Noel
     “Andrew has been an outstanding Lodge       McCallum Memorial Shield (Noel was a
President at Blackwater and his work won         Curragh CFMEU member who passed away
him the respect of mineworkers throughout        with cancer).                                          The Blackwater Lodge assure all that it
Queensland which resulted in him being               At 7.30pm BMA will play Curragh for the        will be “a great family event so come along,
elected to our Union’s Central Council. He       Andrew Curtis Shield.                              enjoy the entertainment and raise your
has always put the interests and welfare of          There will be lots of lucky door prizes        hand to help out a mate and contribute to a
his fellow mineworkers and communities           as well as a bar and canteen operating             worthy cause”.
first and now it is time that we showed him      throughout the night. DJ Cooper will be                All funds raised will be donated to the
how much we appreciate that”, Peter Murray       playing tunes right through until midnight.        Curtis Family. n

sad loss of Mick Clough
             ur Union has paid a warm tribute    told Common Cause that “Mick was an                servant of our mining communities and he
             to former NSW Labor MP Mick         outstanding MP and a great friend of               will not be forgotten”.
             Clough who passed away recently.    mineworkers and our families.                          Wayne McAndrew delivered the tribute
     Mick represented the coal mining                “His door was always open to us and            on behalf of the trade union movement
communities around Lithgow and our               he never hesitated to champion our causes          at Mick’s service and Common Cause will
Union’s District President Wayne McAndrew        when we needed support. He was a great             feature his dedication in the next issue. n

14          COMMON CausE                                                                                     Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008
This is their idea of mine safety!
15-hour day for daily FIFO contractors
     t almost beggars belief but read on for      •	   “You	are	required	to	get	to	the	airport	in	   16-hours a day and when you add in time
     yourself.                                         a safe and timely manner. The plane will      for your breakfast and dinner along with
         BHP wants a contractor operating at           not be able to wait for employees who         a shower, you are looking at a minimum
its coal mines in Central Queensland wants             are late.                                     of 18-hours a day. Then you are expected
to introduce a daily fly-in, fly-out (FIFO)       •	   “It	is	the	responsibility	of	the	employee	    not to be fatigued and you’re told that your
arrangement with its workers that is says is           to safely commute to and from their           family life must be adjusted to allow for you
based on a 15-hours door-to-door safety policy.        place of residence and the airport. (The      to manage, in their words, ‘fatigue and rest’”,
    Under the plan, the mineworkers must               employer) will provide coaches for travel     Stuart told Common Cause.
make their own way every day to either                 between Dysart air field and Saraji Mine          “This is a scandalous abrogation of the
the Mackay, Rockhampton or Townsville                  Site.                                         company’s responsibility and a total failure of
airports from where they will be flown to         •	   “Employees	using	the	provided	travel	         the employer’s planning of work organization
the Dysart airport. There they will be picked          will not be frequenting the Mac Camp,         and risk management. How could you really
up and transported to their place of work              employees are advised to bring a packed       expect anybody to conform to such a routine
for their shift, which the Union believes              lunch daily with them.                        and not be fatigued?”
will be 12.5 hours long. At the end of each       •	   “You	need	to	manage	your	fatigue	                 Stuart Vaccaneo also hit out at BHP’s
daily shift, they are then to be taken from            and rest. This may mean adjusting             role in this scandal.
the workplace by bus to Dysart airport and             your routine when at home to ensure               “They have abjectly failed to properly
flown back to the airports from which they             sufficient rest”.                             plan the mine’s expansion and now they
departed that morning and they must then               Our Union’s former District Check             expect workers to pay the price in terms
make their own way home.                          Inspector and now District Vice-President          of their health and safety as well as the
    Common Cause has seen a                       Stuart Vaccaneo is outraged at this daily fly-     pressure they are subjecting their family
Memorandum sent by the project manager to         in, fly-out proposal.                              life to. They are showing no regard for the
each employee and so we can’t be accused               “Workers would be hard pressed to do          welfare of these workers or their families”,
of misrepresenting the company’s position,        this in 15-hours a day, which is absolutely        Stuart told Common Cause. n
the following are direct quotes from it:          outrageous. We reckon it would be at least

Thousands mark Queensland’s
inaugural Miners Memorial Day

        housands of coal mineworkers              and their families. “It is important that the      their struggle and sadly the ultimate sacrifice
        throughout Queensland responded           community are aware of the terrible price          of workers should never be forgotten. While
        to our Union’s call to pause in           we have paid throughout history and of             we enjoy the benefits of the resources
memory of the more than 1,450 miners              the importance we place on ensuring the            boom, we should reflect on how we got
who died in mining tragedies in that State,       highest standards of health and safety             here today and at what price – that’s what
during the Inaugural Miners Memorial Day          in the mining industry. Mineworkers                Miners Memorial Day is all about”, he said
held on 19 September.                             deserve nothing less and the State Labor               Queensland’s Mines Minister Geoff
    Our Union’s Queensland District               Government is to be congratulated in               Wilson said: “The highest safety standards
Secretary Jim Valery said the public “often       proclaiming an annual Miners Memorial Day          must continue to be enforced – mine by
forgets the sacrifices that have been made        to remind the community of that”, Jim Valery       mine, employer by employer, worker by
by miners and their families to build             told Common Cause.                                 worker. Nothing is more important than the
Queensland’s most prosperous industry”.                Queensland’s Acting Premier Paul Lucas        safety and health of the men and women
    Our Union played an integral role in          said: “Their deaths are a sad part of our          who work in Queensland’s mines”, he said.
planning this important day for miners            collective history and the history of workers,     n

Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008                                                                                        COMMON CausE               15
Our union’s tribute to Eddie Butcher
“a true working class hero”
          istrict and National leaders of
          our Union joined with hundreds
          of rank and file members and
representatives from other unions and the
community to pay tribute to retiring Broken Hill
miners leader Eddie Butcher on 15 August.
     NSW South Western District President
Wayne McAndrew outlined Eddie’s 30 years
of service as a Union leader and spoke of
the great contributions Eddie has made.
General Vice-President Andrew Vickers also
paid a warm tribute to Eddie on behalf of
our Union members throughout Australia.            Eddie Butcher and his wife Eleanor enjoying the retirement evening.
The following tribute is extracted from
Wayne’s speech at the Broken Hill dinner to        Southern Districts into the South Western
pay tribute to Eddie:                              District of NSW, he became the South
     Edward James (Eddie) Butcher was              Western District Metalliferous Vice-President,
born in Broken Hill in 1949. A third               a position he has held right up until his
generation miner in Broken Hill, Eddie             retirement this year. On top of all of this, he
started work at the New Broken Hill                also held the position of check inspector
Consolidated Mine in 1967 at the ripe old          from 1997 until his retirement.
age of 18.                                             During his time as a Union leader, Eddie
     In 1978 Eddie Butcher was first elected       has seen many changes in the mining                   NSW South Western President Wayne McAndrew
to the Board of Management of the Workers          industry – the massive retrenchments in               paying tribute to Eddie Butcher.

Industrial Union of Australia (WIU of A– the       1986 after the mining companies locked-
Broken Hill branch of the Miners Federation)       out the Unionists for 11 weeks; then the
and in 1979 he became a Trustee of that            formation of Pasminco with a merger of
Union. In 1980 Eddie was elected to the            North Broken Hill and CRA forming the
post of full-time Secretary, a position he held    new company, which led to the closure of
until May 1992, when the Union altered the         the North Mine in 1993 with a further loss
structure of the office and he was elected as      of over 500 jobs in the mining industry.
the Secretary/President of the Union.              The closure of the South Mine during this
                                                                                                         General Vice-President Andrew Vickers addressing
     In 1993, under Eddie’s leadership, the        time also led to 140 jobs being lost in the           the tribute dinner.
WIU of A and the FED&FA underwent an               industry, but as Eddie has always said: “The
historic amalgamation, becoming part of the        workers of Broken Hill are very resilient and         endeavoured to introduce Single Status
new super Union, the CFMEU. Eddie was              come through with their heads held high               Contracts (Individual Contracts) and under
also President of the Far West District during     and Proud to be Union”.                               Eddie’s leadership the unions resisted this drive.
this time and also elected by ballot to the            Eddie also attended many Industrial                   Eddie and the Union also ensured
position of President of the Barrier Industrial    Relations Commission hearings during this             that all those miners that were made
Council in 1995. He held that position for         period (too many to mention). Sadly, as               redundant by Pasminco received all of their
three years until January 1998, when he            check inspector, he attended far too many             entitlements at a time when workers in other
decided not to stand for the position due to       safety investigations and inquiries relating to       similar circumstances were unable to do so.
health reasons.                                    death and injury in the mining industry.                  One can honestly say that Eddie Butcher
     He also sat on our Union’s peak body,             There have been though, throughout                has been a working class leader who has
Central Council, representing Broken               his time, good industrial wins as well. Two           made a difference. He is a dedicated family
Hill from 1992 to 1998 when after the              that spring to mind is that while President           man, a proud unionist, a working class
amalgamation of the old Western and                of the Barrier Industrial Council, Pasminco           warrior and a true working class hero. n

16        COMMON CausE                                                                                            Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008
Broken Hill says thanks to retiring
“union icon”

        ven before his election to the                  Eddie will never forget the remark made
        executive of the WIU of A (Workers          by one member that became a slogan of
        Industrial Union of Australia – the         workers during the dispute: “We’d rather live
Broken Hill branch of the Miners Federation)        on the dole than die in the dust”. That was in
back in the late 1970s, Eddie Butcher has           reference to workers refusal to comply with
always been a union man.                            company policy which forced the to return
    “I’ve been involved in unions all my life       underground immediately after a firing.
and proud of it”, he said on the eve of his             Eddie Butcher has never been backward
retirement after a life of service to workers       in his criticism of some former mining
and our families.                                   companies or their management. “The
                                                                                                           Eddie Butcher (left) pictured outside Broken Hill’s
    A mineworker in the NBHC, Eddie                 attitude of some companies towards workers             Trades Hall just before his retirement with Greg
Butcher’s election to the Union’s Board of          has been atrocious. Whatever gains we have             Braes, elected as the new NSW South West District
                                                                                                           Vice-President Metalliferous. Picture courtesy The
Management in 1978 started a career that            ever made we have had to fight hard for                Barrier Daily Truth.
would span 30 year and countless industrial         them. They never gave anything for nothing
agreements.                                         but were always quick to try and take it back
    Eddie said he had seen some “major              if they thought the conditions suited them                 The BIC President said common sense
changes” in the workplace, including the            and if they were strong enough to”.                    and fairness were the two main qualities
mechanisation of the mining industry.                   Eddie Butcher said the welfare of                  Eddie Butcher brought to the negotiating
There has also been the more than the               workers was always his biggest concern.                table. “He’s never backed down from an
occasional clash with mining companies              “The health and safety of workers has been             issue when he thought he was right. He’s an
over agreements or workplace disputes –             very close to my heart. All I’ve tried to do is        icon of the union movement in Broken Hill”.
resulting in strikes and lockouts.                  get workers better conditions and look after               NSW Mines Minister Ian MacDonald
    Eddie Butcher recalled two particularly         them.”                                                 also praised Eddie Butcher, acknowledging
bitter episodes; in 1981 when members                   Barrier Industrial Council (BIC – the peak         his “many years of service” and his valuable
lost 17 days work, and again in 1986                group for unions in Broken Hill) President             role in mine safety. “You have made a major
when they were locked-out for 11 weeks.             Danny O’Connor described Eddie Butcher as              contribution to improving health and safety
“The companies tried to starve members              an icon of Broken Hill. “He’ll be a great loss         in the metalliferous mining industry in NSW.
into submission, but failed”, he recalls.           to the union movement in Broken Hill”, he              The NSW mining industry is a lot safer as
“When they finally went back to work,               said. “His long service to the movement and            a result of your efforts and I wish to thank
the companies rewarded workers by                   the advances he has been able to make in               you”, said Minister McDonald.       n
retrenching them”.                                  that time speaks for itself”.

                              Colouring-in Winners
   Congratulations to the following winners of the August/September colouring-in competition, who each receive a special prize package:

   Kai Chapman          6              Peak Downs Queensland                    Lauren Pearce         11        Helensburgh Coal New South Wales
   R. Camplin          11                   Anglo Coal Queensland               Leanna Hamon          9               Ravensworth New South Wales
   Arnette Gorlick      5     Gladstone Port Corp. Queensland                   Jarrod Latimer        10           Berrima Colliery New South Wales
   Tayla Hood          12                        GPC Queensland                 Laura Poole           8                     Drayton New South Wales
   Sarah Keen           8                     Crinum Queensland                 Kaitlyn Whyte         10          Clarence Colliery New South Wales
   Poppy Sandilands     4                   Anglo Coal Queensland               Samantha Risby        10                 Springvale New South Wales
   Ella Sandilands      3                   Anglo Coal Queensland               Katie Lee             7               Hunter Valley New South Wales
   Ebony Brice         10              Peak Downs Queensland                    Caitlin Clarcles      5               Helensburgh New South Wales
   Zayleah Brice        4              Peak Downs Queensland                    Michael Gaudiano 7                      Energy Brix Victoria
   Emma Cannon          9            Bengalla Mine New South Wales              Kelsey Coffih         8            Loy-Yang Power Victoria

Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008                                                                                              COMMON CausE                 17
Ruthless exploitation of temporary
visa workers, says IR Commissioner

          nscrupulous foreign migration          foreign workers in Australia, or deceitfully         illegally deduct money from their workers
          agents are exploiting Australia’s      demand up to $10,000 a year to renew                 salaries to recover the cost of bringing them
          457 visa system by extorting           workers visas when they have already been            to Australia.
money from foreign workers and                   granted for up to four years.                            Claims have also been raised about
encouraging employers to overwork them.                The agents, in turn, encourage Australian      employers persuading the children of
     The concern has been raised in a            employers to exploit the workers, telling            foreign workers to work under exploitative
paper by Industrial Relations Commissioner       them they will work “unlimited hours” for the        conditions.
Barbara Deegan, who has been appointed           minimum wage.                                            The vulnerability of the workers and their
by the Federal Government to examine the               “Many stakeholders have raised                 families - who often lack knowledge of their
integrity of the 457 temporary visa scheme.      concerns about ‘agents’ who ‘sell’ the               work rights and English, and are fearful of
     In her paper Commissioner Deegan            system to employers as a method to acquire           being deported - has been highlighted by
describes how foreign middlemen often            a ‘bonded’ workforce,” writes Commissioner           Commissioner Deegan, who is due to issue a
demand excessive fees to secure jobs for         Deegan. Some Australian employers, in turn,          final report on the 457 visa scheme soon. n

$4-an hour for foreign workers
        oreign workers on a gas pipeline project off the Western           Relations Act’s minimum wage rules did not apply to them.
        Australian coast have received between $4.20 and $10.20 an               The inspectors travelled to Karratha again on July 2 this year after
        hour because they held 456 short-stay visas.                       receiving additional complaints relating to the underpayment of up
     Inspectors from the Workplace Ombudsman boarded a barge in            to 90 foreign workers doing “de-mobbing” work on the barge, but it
April this year and found up to 16 workers from Indonesia, Malaysia,       had already left.
India and the Philippines working 12-hour shifts on a 60-days on/30-             The Workplace Ombudsman’s investigation determined that
days off roster.                                                           because of the nature of the employment and visa arrangements of
     They were being paid between $4.20 and $10.20 an hour                 the foreign workers, it was unable to enforce a minimum Australian
under employment contracts from their country of origin. All held          wage for these super-exploited workers.
subclass 456 Australian short-stay visas issued by the Department                While this sort of exploitation was fostered by the Howard
of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), which meant the Workplace           Government, the new Federal Government must act to close it now. n

                                                                                 $40,000 fine for
                                                                                 foreign workers

                                                                                        he Federal Magistrates Court has fined a Melbourne
                                                                                        training services company $40,000 for underpaying
                                                                                        workers recruited from China.
                                                                                     Federal Magistrate Kate Hawkins found Education Training
                                                                                 and Employment Australia failed to pay correct hourly rates, shift
                                                                                 allowances, casual loading and penalty rates and made unlawful
                                                                                 deductions from the pay of Chinese employees.
                                                                                     The workers were recruited on the basis that they would
                                                                                 receive qualifications to work in aged care in Australia, but upon
                                                                                 arrival they were put to work in aged care facilities for up to
                                                                                 68-hours per week. n

18        COMMON CausE                                                                                         Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008
Gunnedah takes out Mineworkers shield

Some of the kids who helped make this year’s competition such a success.   Northern District Central Councillor Ross Whitaker presents members of the
                                                                           Gunnedah Public School team with their championship trophies.

        he Mineworkers Shield has been contested for the 11th year         day and they did well to record one win.
        with Gunnedah Public School emerging triumphant this year.             Indications are that next year Manilla will field a side in addition
            In addition to the usual teams, a team was made up             to the Narrabri area where the mining industry is taking off.
of the very small towns in the areas of Curlewis, Somerton and                 A special thanks to the Whitehaven Lodge and the Northern
Mullaley. The pupils from these schools greatly appreciated the            District for sponsorship to make it all possible.
opportunity to play in this year’s competition.
    Former coal miner Peter Wicks coached the new team on the                  –Ross Whittaker, Northern Central Councillor n

                                                                           Coal Heritage Group
                                                                           thanks to union

                                                                                  he Coalfield Heritage Group that manage the Sir Edgeworth
                                                                                  David Museum at Kurri Kurri, in which can be found the
                                                                                  extensive Jim Comerford Library and Archives, wish to extend
                                                                           our sincere thanks to the National Office and the officers of the
                                                                           CFMEU Mining and Energy for their generous donation to purchase
                                                                           100 gift bags.
                                                                               The bags will be distributed to all delegates, visitors and invited
                                                                           guests who will be attending the 37th Annual Hunter and Coastal
                                                                           Region’s History Conference. The bags will be filled like showbags full
                                                                           of promotional material on all aspects of the Coalfield’s heritage and
                                                                           tourism. Printed on the bags will be information indicating that they
                                                                           are the compliments of the CFMEU Mining and Energy.
                                                                               Your grant will give us the advantage now of not having to divert
                                                                           valuable funds put aside for research purposes. Our research is
                                                                           all made freely available to students and the public through the
                                                                           Comerford Library, which has much of the history of every aspect of
                                                                           coalmining in the NSW Northern District.
                                                                               We now have the history or details of some 850 Northern
                                                                           collieries, and over 530 Hunter Valley towns and settlements. n

Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008                                                                                        COMMON CausE                   19
The Coalminers of Queensland:
an important book for anyone
interested in labour history
By associate Professor Greg Patmore, Editor of Labour History

         he Coalminers of Queensland,             of mines and the importance of women’s             Pete Thomas’s book contributes to broader
         Volume 2 is a rich source of material    auxiliaries in industrial disputes.                debates on the important links between
         and ideas for students, researchers          During an important strike in 1980             the community (p. 51) and the labour
and union activists. While industrial relations   against the increased taxation of subsidised       movement. Alliances between strikers
violence in Australia is not on the scale of      housing by the Federal Government,                 and local businesses can be important for
the United States, one instance is recounted      wives found a way to use federal social            sustaining and winning a dispute. Miners
where picketers at Collinsville were shot at      security benefits to finance the strike. While     forged links with their local communities
by scabs in 1967 (p. 22).                         strikers could not claim unemployment              through active involvement in sporting and
      The failure of mining companies to          benefits, their wives could claim benefits for     social clubs.
provide adequate facilities for miners and        themselves and support their families (p.              In addition, an appendix lists material
their families in new mining locations led        281).                                              that will be of value for researchers on the
to a range of actions by miners and their             The book evoked my memory of a spin            Queensland coalmining industry. It is held in
unions to improve living conditions in new        campaign in 1977 used by Utah to promote           the Pete Thomas Archive, which is located
mining towns. At Dysart, concerns about the       the benefits of the company’s activities           at the CFMEU Mining and Energy Division
price of groceries and other everyday needs       for Australia. They launched an advertising        office in Brisbane.
led labour activists to establish a retail co-    campaign involving the US-based Australian             This an important book for anyone
operative in 1976 by purchasing an existing       actor Rod Taylor to tell Australians that ‘Utah    interested in labour history. The Queensland
privately run supermarket (p. 221).               is backing Australia’. As the book notes,          District Branch of the CFMEU Mining and
      The book also highlights the role of        the campaign ‘had the soggy impact of              Energy Division and Greg Mallory should
women in employment and community                 wet cement’ (p. 374). In the face of public        be congratulated for putting together Pete
activities. It frequently documents the           criticism, Utah did not take up the option of      Thomas’s unpublished essays in a book that
experiences of women members in                   rehiring Taylor for another year.                  we can read, enjoy and learn the lessons of
employment for the first time at a number             While the book styles itself as a narrative,   the past. n

                         ORDER FORM: The Coalminers of Queensland, volumes 1 and 2
                         ORDER FORM: The Coalminers of Queensland, volumes 1 and 2
     Title                                          Format                          Cost                         Quantity             Total
                                                                     (plus packing and postage- $9.00)

     Volume 1: Creating the Traditions            hard-cover                    $49.95 + $9.00

     Volume 2: The Pete Thomas Essays             hard-cover                    $49.95 + $9.00

     Volume 2: The Pete Thomas Essays              soft-cover                   $39.95 + $9.00

     Name:                                                                                                       Total cost:

     Address:                                                                                                      Cheques should be
                                                                                                                    made payable to:
                                                                      Postcode:                              CFMEU Mining & Energy Qld District
                                                                                                                  Send completed form to:
     Telephone:                                                                                                 CFMEU (Mining and Energy),
                                                                                                                    Queensland District,
     Payment method: q Cheque q Visa q Mastercard                     Expiry:                                  PO Box 508, Spring Hill, Q 4004

     number:                                                                          Signature:

20           COMMON CausE                                                                                     Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008
Winning Post – a larrikin aussie tale by
former coal miner Gary ‘Flash’ Gilbert

         ormer coal miner Gary ‘Flash’ Gilbert    What they are saying                             Newcastle Morning Courier
         worked for over 21years in the coal      about the book                                       “As Lawson coloured the landscapes
         industry. He liked the camaraderie           “A story of Australia on the cusp of         and hardships of Australia so to has Gilbert
and after pay drinks with his unit and shift      turning from old fashioned to modern and         painted the changes and triggers of what it
mates.                                            the story of two who turned the corner with      has become…Possibly the best of its kind”.
    He came through the one, then two             her”. – G. Pike, South Australian Sun.           – H. Harrison, Editor in Chief,
and finally three shifts of production. The           “For every parent who forgets how it         Melbourne Page.
introduction of Longwall mining he says, saw      was… But would like to remember, for
his unit break the then world record with         ungrateful or disbelieving children. An
268 cars in an eight-hour shift.                  unforgettable capture of a period”. – H.         How to Order
    Made redundant from the coal industry,        Jones, Queensland University’s Press Dept.       Winning Post costs $60 a copy.
‘Flash’ moved to Tassie where he finally              “If we’d known we had him in the             However, for Lodges or Branches
decided to write the book that had been           state… We’d never have let him go. A vivid       who order 10 or more the cost
brewing inside him for years.                     rollicking take of two ordinary lads, with       is reduced to $50 a copy.
    Winning Post covers his trials through        more gall than an abattoir”. – G Morrison,
his school days in Newcastle through to his       Entertainment Editor, Kalgoorlie Sun             All cheques payable to Gary Gilbert.
first job, his interstate and overseas moves.         “It’s an Encyclopaedia of the way things     Address: Resource Publications,
It’s an autobiography that will inform and        were. A time of mateship and chances             9 Lenborough Street,
entertain readers of all ages. It reminds us      that touches lightly on almost everything        Beauty Point, Tasmania 7270.
of a time where materialism was a word not        that happened in this important period           Email:
yet in everybody’s vocabulary.                    of Australia’s history”. – D. Fittler, Editor,   n

CFMEu fined $55,000 under repressive IR
construction laws for backing apprentice

         he Federal Court has ordered the         workplace laws in the next 12-months.            the project, but when they finished work on
         CFMEU to pay heavy fines, after the      The ABCC launched the case against the           the site, the union demanded that Hooker
         Union admitted organising ‘unlawful’     CFMEU and John Parker after they organised       Cockram arrange for another apprentice to
industrial action to pressure a construction      workers engaged on building the police and       be taken on.
contractor to hire an apprentice on a             law courts complex in the Gippsland town of      When the company refused, John Parker
Victorian building site.                          Morwell in 2005 to impose overtime bans          organised a meeting of workers on the site
Justice Richard Tracey ordered the CFMEU          in an attempt to compel the head contractor,     at which they decided to impose overtime
to pay civil penalties totalling $55,000 for      Hooker Cockram, to ensure an apprentice          bans until an apprentice was hired.
breaching s38 and s43 of the BCII Act.            was employed on the site.                        The overtime ban lasted for seven days until
These are the repressive industrial laws that     The CFMEU argued it had made an                  Hooker Cockram agreed to talks with the
the Howard Government introduced to deny          agreement with Hooker Cockram that               Union that eventually led to an agreement
construction workers basic industrial and civil   an apprentice would be employed on               for a new apprentice to be taken on.
rights and were brought against the Union by      the project for its entire duration, but         However, the ABCC stepped in and initiated
the construction industry’s industrial police     the company said it had only agreed to           legal action against the CFMEU and its
force, the ABCC.                                  “encourage” its sub-contractors to take          organiser. It says a lot about the unfair nature
The Court also fined CFMEU organiser John         on an apprentice.                                of these construction laws that a Union that
Parker $8,000, although he will only be           A sub-contractor had employed an                 acted in support of an apprentice should be
required to pay the penalty if he breaches        apprentice on the site until mid-way through     punished so heavily. n

Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008                                                                                     COMMON CausE                21
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22          COMMON CausE                                                                                     Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008
Export boom set to continue: aBaRE

    n the latest issue of its Australian
    Commodities, the Australian Bureau of
    Agricultural and Resource Economics
(ABARE) predicts the value of minerals and
energy exports will be around $A180 billion
in 2008-09, with iron ore and metallurgical
coal singled out for substantial increases.
    “The short-term prospects for energy
and mineral commodities remain positive,
supported by continued demand growth and
supply-side constraints”, ABARE executive
director Phillip Glyde said in a statement.
    He said earnings from iron ore, coal,
oil and liquefied natural gas are forecast to
account for almost 98% of the growth in
energy and mineral export earnings.
    ABARE said Australian metallurgical
coal exports would increase to 150 million            In its mineral statistics for the June         metallurgical coal up $755 million (5%) to
tonnes in 2009, up from 139 million tonnes        quarter ABARE found significant increases          $15.8 billion and thermal coal up $1.6 billion
in 2008.                                          in coal export earnings in 2007-08, with           (23%) to $8.3 billion. n

Norway takes a Billion dollar swipe at
Rio over “grossly unethical conduct”

           ne of Europe’s biggest investors       230,000 tonnes of tailings, or mine residue,           “There are no indications to the effect
           has dropped a bomb on Rio Tinto,       into local river systems each day.                 that the company’s practices will be changed
           selling off its one billion dollar         Norwegian Finance Minister Kristin             in future. The fund cannot hold ownership
stake in the mining giant because of the          Halvorsen said the decision reflected an           interests in such a company”, said the
company’s “grossly unethical conduct” at the      “unwillingness to run an unacceptable risk         Norwegian Finance Minister.
world’s largest gold mine.                        of contributing to grossly unethical conduct.          Norway’s Government Pension Fund –
    Norway’s Finance Ministry has banned          The Council on Ethics has concluded                Global, invests under ethical guidelines set
Rio from the nation’s $465 billion sovereign      that Rio Tinto is directly involved, through       by the Government. The fund, previously
wealth fund because of its 40% stake in           its participation in the Grasberg mine in          one of Rio’s largest shareholders, funnels
the controversial Grasberg mine in Papua,         Indonesia, in the severe environmental             earnings from Norway’s huge oil and gas
Indonesia. The mine discharges about              damage caused by that mining operation.            wealth into foreign stocks and bonds. n

Environment leader Tim Flannery says
it’s time to get real on coal

        rofessor Tim Flannery is chairman of the Copenhagen                 China’s been building a brand new coal-fired power plant about as
        Climate Council, the 2007 Australian of the Year and a              big as Australia’s biggest one every week for the past decade or so and
        prolific author on matters of conservation. Professor Flannery      that’s going to need coal.
has been quite forthright in his views in recent media interviews,              “What we need really is a way of burning coal that doesn’t cause
including the following from his appearance with Andrew Denton on           the pollution and you know that’s called clean coal technologies or
ABC TV’s Enough Rope:                                                       carbon capture and storage or whatever. To build that quickly enough
    “The world is going to need coal, particularly places like China        is going to take a vast amount of money. It’s all happening far, far too
and India ... that have vast amounts of new coal-fired power plants.        slowly”. n

Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008                                                                                       COMMON CausE                23
Practising in:
• Work Cover claims           • Employment law
• Work injury claims          • Family law
• Motor vehicle               • Wills & Estates
  accidents                   • Migration law
• All other personal          • Criminal law
  injury claims

                                CONTACT DETAILS
                                T 1800 659 114
                                F (07) 3229 9842

*by appointment
                                                                         Westfund Westfund Westfund Westfund

                                                        Following my unexpected open heart surgery and receiving this Serious Illness benefit
                                                        of $2,400, I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to the fund for their compassion and
                                                        pro-active leadership in providing benefits for their members.
                                                        The additional benefits provided by the Fund align it with the original objectives of the
                                                        Fund caring for its members in a practical way which has helped me in returning to
                                                        normal health without the drain on our finances.
                                                        Please again pass on my appreciation to the Fund and the staff for their caring
                                                        advice and assistance.

                                                                        Les Tulley
                                                        Les Tulley
                                                        South Bowenfels NSW

                                                                                 Westfund Ltd ABN 55 002 080 864. A registered Private Health Insurer,
                                                                                 Incorporated in NSW. Trading under Westfund and Westfund Health Assurance.
                                                                                 Westfund Holdings Pty Ltd ACN 099 738 600 as trustee for the Westfund Unit Trust
                                                                                 ABN 43 653 200 942. Trading as Classic Eyewear. Not a registered Health Fund.

Our History                                          �  As a ‘Not for Profit’ mutual                                  travel and accommodation, and
                                                     organisation our objective has                                   when you phone up you will speak
Westfund, formerly Western                           always been to return profits to                                 to one of our friendly trained staff,
District Mine Workers Medical                        members by way of continually                                    (not an automated voice machine).
                                                     improving our range of services
Benefits Fund, was formed by                         and benefits to members.
                                                                                                                      �       Westfund compares very
the Lithgow miners in 1929 as                                                                                                 favourably against the
                                                     Hospital                                                                 bigger funds.
a self help organisation.
                                                     �    In recent times we have made                                Westfund has consistently proven to
While the demands of business                        claiming easier introducing the                                  be very affordable against some of
have changed, Westfund and their                     HICAPS claiming system whereby                                   the larger funds over the past 3 years.
philosophy in supporting their                       the member can have their ancillary
members financial needs for their                    claims processed at the providers                                Premium Rise Comparison table:
medical security remain the same.                    while they wait. In July 2007 we also                                    HEALTH FUND                 2006   2007   2008   Average
We remain well established in the                    introduced changes to the Medical
                                                                                                                        Medibank                          5.88% 4.94% 4.64% 5.1%
mines in NSW through the Mudgee,                     Gap scheme.
                                                                                                                        MBF                               6.71% 4.39% 5.95% 5.7%
Lithgow and Wollongong areas and                     Medical Gap                                                        NIB
maintain branches in those areas.                                                                                                                         4.85% 4.65% 4.99% 4.8%
                                                     �    Westfund is now part of the
                                                                                                                        Westfund                          4.07% 3.54% 3.94% 3.8%
We also have established with                        Access Gap scheme with over 470
the mines in central Queensland                      contracted hospitals and day surgeries
branches in Moranbah and                             and 17,000 Doctors participating.
Emerald, supported with                              The Access Gap advantage means
Rockhampton and Mackay                               higher benefits to members                                        You can see us on-line,
branches.                                            reducing the number of out of
                                                     pocket medical expenses whilst                                    give us a call, or drop into a
About Westfund                                       simplifying the claiming process.                                 branch nearest you to speak
Westfund offer an extensive range                    These changes have been well
of private Hospital and Extras                       received by our members and                                       to one of our friendly staff.
covers for both singles and                          medical practitioners.
families. We currently operate a                     Ambulance                                                         Web:
network of 14 branches and 13
agencies throughout rural NSW,                       � Australia wide Ambulance                                        Phone: 1300 552 132
                                                     cover in the unfortunate event of
QLD and W.A.
                                                     an accident.                                                      Fax: (02) 6352 3080
                                                     With its rural focus, Westfund has                                Email:
                                                     some unique benefits such as
                      WESTFUND HOME OFFICE PO Box 235, 5 Railway Parade Lithgow NSW 2790
                                                                    Westfund Ltd ABN 55 002 080 864.
               A registered Private Health Insurer,Incorporated in NSW. Trading under Westfund and Westfund Health Assurance. Westfund Holdings Pty Ltd
                 ACN 099 738 600 as trustee for the Westfund Unit Trust ABN 43 653 200 942. Trading as Classic Eyewear. Not a registered Health Fund.
FOR THE KIDS!                            NAME:                                   AGE:
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could become one of our prize winners!   ADDRESS:
Send your entry to:
Courtney Moss, Common Cause,
PO Box Q1641, QVB Post Office,                                         POSTCODE:
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Entries must reach us before
24th November, 2008.                     WHERE YOUR RELATIVE WORKS:

26     COMMON CausE                                                   Vol 74 No.5 October/November 2008
                                                      Slater & Gordon Director Ken Fowlie (left)
                                                      with Newcastle Practice Leader, Stuart Barnett

      Lawyers helping Mineworkers
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