Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston blasted the WA agriculture industry’s safety culture and record in the lead-up to Newdegate Machinery Field Days last week.
“It is 10 times more likely that a person in the agricultural industry will be killed at work than some-body in the mining industry,” he said last Tuesday in the Legislative Assembly. “It is time that the agricultural industry stepped up and started realising that we cannot allow this to continue.”
Mr Johnston called on farming families to change the culture of their industry.
“One of the challenges is that in the agricultural sector, it is considered acceptable to have children play on farm equipment,” he said.
“We do not allow children to play on mining equipment, but for some reason, we see it as acceptable to have children play on dangerous farm equipment.
“It is unacceptable to me, and I imagine to everybody else in this chamber, that we have allowed these dangerous practices to continue for such a long period.”
Mr Johnston praised a number of agriculture industry stake-holders who have joined the State Government in launching a new safety initiative.
“I am pleased to say that in co-operation with Co-operative Bulk Handling Ltd and CSBP, the Government is launching a farm safety campaign,” he said.
“I am pleased that CBH and CSBP are supporting this campaign with cash contributions towards the publicity effort that we are doing to make sure that the agricultural sector is fully aware of the challenges in this space.
“The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s engagement on the regulations includes many opportunities for electronic input.
“I have no doubt that the department’s campaign of engagement on the regulations, which is only just commencing, will be very comprehensive.”