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The Victorian Government will pump billions of dollars into the economy to help Victorian businesses and workers survive the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas today announced a $1.7 billion economic survival and jobs package, which has been developed following discussions at National Cabinet and complements the work of the Federal Government.

Read more here.

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Safe Work Australia has published updated information for employers on managing the risks from COVID-19.

Under the model work health and safety laws, employers must have measures in place to eliminate or manage the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for Employers web page includes information on what an employer should do to protect workers and others at a workplace.

The page also includes links to relevant information on Commonwealth, state and territory WHS and workers’ compensation regulator websites, as well as national, state and territory health department websites. Safe Work Australia will continue to update the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for Employers web page as the situation develops.

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The CMPA Management Committee is aware of its duty of care to Members and staff, and its role to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). 

Social distancing plays an important part in preventing the spread of the virus but this affects many CMPA activities, from simple face to face meetings through to the Annual Dinner and AGM. 

The following is occurring:

  • Face to face Workshops/General Meetings are postponed until 1 July 2020 when the decision will be reviewed;
  • Management Committee and Associate Committee meetings will take place via video conference on a meeting by meeting basis;
  • Annual Dinner – a decision will be made by 1 July 2020 or earlier;
  • AGM 2020 – to be held via video conference subject to the CMPA Rules and current legislation if the Annual Dinner is cancelled;
  • All meetings in Melbourne etc will now be held by either telephone or video conferencing;
  • Secretariat has been set up for working from home, when required;

Of course, the CMPA Secretariat will continue to be active on behalf of its Members by:

  • Seeking Government support for recovery for the extractive industry from COVID-19;
  • Proposed video conferencing on topics such as the new workplace manslaughter legislation; the new General Environmental Duty EP Act 2017 etc;
  • Seeking simplification and cost reduction of Extractive Industries Work Plan applications including the Risk-based Work Plan process;
  • Working with DELWP regarding native vegetation issues;
  • Seeking realistic and equitable Rehabilitation Bonds;
  • Ensuring the continued separation of Extractive Industries (quarries) from the mining, coal mining and coal seam gas sectors covered by the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (MR(SD)) Act and its extensive set of related regulations;
  • Development of various submissions for Government Policies, Regulations and Codes of Practice that impact the future of the extractive industry;
  • Working with Government to develop mechanisms for identifying and protecting current and future extractive resource assets in planning mechanisms, such as Strategic Extractive Resource Areas (SERAs);
  • Continuing development of the following Training Manuals: Conduct Sand Wash Operations, Service and Maintain Screens, Service and Maintain Conveyors, Service and Maintain Bulk Feed Bins and Hoppers;
  • Development of a Water Management Plan template for Quarries;
  • Development of a Slimes Management in Quarries template;
  • Providing input to VicRoads on a range of strategic and technical issues through the CMPA/VIcRoads Technical Committee;
  • Development of a Fire Response and Readiness Management Plan template;
  • Development of a Pest Animal and Weed Management Plan template;
  • Publishing the bimonthly Sand & Stone magazine
  • Determining the effectiveness of the Planning Practice Note 89 (Extractive Industry) and
  • Any other relevant issues put forward by Members as they arise.

Some measures taken by Members include:

  1. Machine operators to use antibacterial wipe packs as well as bulk packs and sanitizer spray bottles in the offices.
  2. The Liv – Wipes alcohol swabs are also available on sites and are ideal for cleaning fixed and mobile phones , key boards etc.
  3. Avoid having more than one operator in the control room at a time.
  4. Phones at truck hold points are to be covered so they are not used. Mobile phones are to be used by drivers. Temporary signage to be put in place noting ‘Use your mobile’ with weighbridge contact number.
  5. For the immediate future we will not be carrying out onsite inductions due to the risk of viral infection. This includes truck drivers.
    • Please be sure any un-inducted people entering the site have safety rules relating to their task explained to them (stay in your truck, wear hard hat, stay clear of plant, PPE….), confirm with management and ensure staff are aware of their presence.
    • When raising purchase orders ensure the supplier is aware they must complete online induction before arriving on site.
  6. Stop the practice of having drivers sign in each morning face to face at the weighbridge window. When admitting a driver for the first time each day ask 3 key questions by phone to assess them and note on the visitor register:
    • Are you feeling fit and free of illness that may affect you or others working around you?
    • Are you well rested, physically and mentally?
    • Have you consumed alcohol, medication or drugs within the last 12 hours (if yes when and how much)? Discuss with your manager if concerns are raised.
  7. Clear the lunch rooms of shared plates, cups, utensils etc. Only ‘single use’ disposables are to be used or employees to provide their own and not to be left in the lunch room after use unless stored in personal lunch boxes.
  8. Ensure microwaves, fridges, cookers, benches, tables, desks, keyboards are wiped down each day as required.
  9. Operators are not to share machines or rotate through machines for meal breaks. Cabins must be left clean. Take the time to wipe down controls before and after use each shift
  10. Where possible nominate a tool carrier operator for each day, ensuring the controls are wiped clean after use.
  11. Alternate meal breaks and where possible use separate lunch areas.
  12. Avoid close contact with others.
  13. Avoid use of shared computers.
  14. Limit morning tool box meetings or congregation of people pre-starting each shift. Managers must use white boards to help communicate daily directions.
  15. Keep alert of issued health updates. Discuss any concerns or ideas/suggestions with managers.
  16. If possible avoid attending high risk events where people congregate, where health alerts have been issued and/or public exposure sites.

The latest information on COVID-19 can be found at the following links.

World Health Organisation – Public advice on prevention

https://www.health.gov.au/

https://www.abc.net.au/news/story-streams/coronavirus/

Hotline Help For Businesses Dealing With COVID-19 Impacts

Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15

business.vic.gov.au

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The outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus), first reported from the People’s Republic of China, is causing economic disruption in many sectors including tourism and hospitality, education, property, resources, and international supply chains.

VECCI have provided further information for businesses. Click here to read.

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Please note that due to the current warnings regarding the coronavirus this workshop has been postponed.

The CMPA and a number of Associate members are holding this workshop on March 19th 2020 to provide operators with an understanding of how to properly maintain components of their fixed plant to ensure they are running to the best of their ability.

For more information go here

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Victoria’s earth resources regulator has released its strategy to drive better rehabilitation of mine, quarry and other resources sites, to build public confidence in the sector and the jobs it supports.

Earth Resources Regulation is responsible for ensuring that sites are rehabilitated to protect people, land, infrastructure and the environment.

The Regulatory Practice Strategy for the Rehabilitation of Earth Resources Sites aims to help operators plan and rehabilitate sites over the full life cycle of a mine or quarry project, rather than after extraction is complete.

It also sets out how the regulator will do more to improve site rehabilitation by approving better rehabilitation plans, estimating rehabilitation liabilities and undertaking education and enforcement.

The strategy will give landholders and communities confidence that the final landform will be safe and stable when operations cease.

Rehabilitating sites can provide communities with valuable long-term assets. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne, and Niddrie’s Newport Lakes and Valley Lake are all former quarries.

Operators want to do the right thing and Earth Resources Regulation wants to support them by making things clearer and easier.

Delivering the strategy is consistent with the regulator continuing to provide clearer processes to increase certainty for operators, local government and community.

The strategy will be refined over time based on practical experience and feedback from industry and communities.

The Regulatory Strategy for the Rehabilitation of Earth Resources Sites is available at earthresources.vic.gov.au.

Quotes attributable to Earth Resources Regulation’s Executive Director Anthony Hurst:

“Effective site rehabilitation underpins confidence in both the resources industry and the regulator – the commitments made upon approval of a project must be fulfilled when it is finished.”

“We will work with operators to help them consider the range of site rehabilitation options, engage with local communities and work progressively towards the preferred rehabilitated landform.”

“We’ll ensure rehabilitation is completed to protect communities and the environment, if an operator fails to meet their obligations.”

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The Andrews Labor Government is warning employers not to become complacent about the dangers of working from heights, warning they will be held accountable for putting workers lives at risk.

WorkSafe Victoria inspectors have been targeting work sites since November, with a focus on fall prevention, scaffolding safety and ladder use in the construction industry, after two fall-related fatalities and a number of serious incidents last year.

Read more here

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Heat and air pollution from bushfires can be hazardous and can cause harm to people working in both indoor and outdoor work environments.

Employers have duties under work health and safety laws to manage these risks and protect worker health and safety.

See the resources and guidelines available on the Safe Work Australia website for information about the potential hazards and risks associated with working in heat and air pollution.

For more information go to the SafeWork Australia website

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Several VicRoads Test Methods were re-issued, and a new issue of a calculator for RC 316.10, and up-loaded on VicRoads website on 31 January 2020, as listed in the extract from the new Index. 

Note to use the calculator RC 316.10B, you will need to “enable editing”.

Other VicRoads Test Methods, and Codes of Practice, can be found on the VicRoads website. https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/