17 September 2020 | QRC COVID-19 Working Group meeting

QRC COVID-19 Working Group spoke about the following (actions in bold):

  • Yesterday the Premier removed the identification of the Gold Coast or the Darling Downs as a ‘Restricted Area’. Noting these restrictions were limited to private gatherings indoors and do not impact travel.
  • QRC anticipates that Health Direction number 15 (due in 2-weeks) may see a possible easing/lifting of restrictions of travel to the ACT and regional NSW.
  • QRC continues to engage Qld Health and DNRME to ensure specialist workers are able to get to sites in Qld.
  • A Joint APPEA/QRC/AMEC report has identified that companies are experiencing significant issues in accommodating COVID restrictions, particularly in relation to the potential for worker fatigue and mental health.
    • This has drawn the attention of the regulator.
    • Mental health issues have become more prominent.
    • Companies should be mindful to manage fatigue at all times, irrespective of the cause.
  • QRC notes anecdotal reports that some companies are not enforcing social distancing. The veracity of these reports is questionable, but companies are reminded to be vigilant (especially when testing at the airport) to maintain the highest standards of safety.
  • Exemption processes are going smoothly. QRC is involved in 3 cases, and working on issues relating to high-priority travel to NSW.
    • Another 5 applications, covering 17 workers, are currently being considering by DNRME.
  • Regarding marine safety: 200 crew changes/week are happening in Qld now. 40% are occurring in the regional ports via the corridor, and Maritime Services Queensland are auditing that process.
  • If members experience supply issues, please raise them with QRC.
  • Generally, Queensland Health are confident about the outlook in relation to the spread of COVID. There is currently no community transmission.
  • QRC is extremely disappointed in the lack of messages from Government regarding support for the resources sector, notably the lack of mention of Coal as a significant contributor to Queensland’s economic recovery. QRC continues to raise this as an issue.
  • In relation to the QRC campaign, now in its third of four weeks. There are considerations is being given to a follow up campaign. There are high numbers of new followers as a result of the campaign. There are ads running on television and online, viewed approximately 50,000 times. The QRC website has received a doubling of page visits.
    • QRC emphasises the need for all companies to post, like and share QRC’s material in order to maintain the momentum of the campaign in its last week.
    • NSW and WA will spend approximately 3-5 times what the QRC has spent, increasing the need for member support to make up the shortfall in spend with ‘likes’ and shares from members.
  • Mark Stone from Resources Safety and Health Qld was asked to speak about potential fatigue and mental health issues in the workforce. Companies were encouraged to engage the chief inspectors, or via the QRC, if issues arise.
  • Shaun Ferris [DNRME] advised the group “the door is open” in relation to the existing specialist exemption framework, and to obtain Shaun’s phone number from Ian Macfarlane, QRC, in order to connect.
  • Local government representatives were invited to raise issues, but none were raised.

Next meeting

  • Thursday 24 September 2020 at 12.30pm