Fossil fuel executives complained about a lack of career advancement and incentives resulting from one workplace fatality.
Russell Uhr has neither been promoted nor received any performance bonuses since an underground electrician died at Fitzroy Australia Resources’ Carborough Downs Coal Mine in Coppabella, 163km southwest of Mackay.
Faulty equipment failed to stop coal from falling and crushing Brad Duxbury to death on 25 November 2019. The 57-year-old had tried to repair machinery at the operation.
Uhr, who is one of the accused site senior executives, claims a Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WorkSafe) prosecutor incorrectly referred the tragedy to a magistrates court instead of the Industrial Court of Queensland. Since the magistrates court has no jurisdiction over the matter acting Magistrate Athol Kennedy dismissed all complaints, resulting in further delays.
Uhr complained his employer will not consider him for senior management roles while the prosecution is “on foot”. He also has no access to performance scheme bonuses.
Fellow site senior executive Jeremy Futeran, who has since left the company, claims he was “shunned” for new job opportunities and “effectively unemployable in Australia” after being charged with failing to discharge health and safety obligations causing death.
Industrial court president Justice Peter Davis criticised WorkSafe for a lack of progress in resolving the matter and rejected the regulator’s “oppressive” application.
“Over two years, from the swearing of the complaint and over three years from the date of the Duxbury incident, the prosecution has not progressed at all,” he said according to News Limited.
“Errors have contributed to significant delays which have caused Mr Futeran significant prejudice.”
Davis suggested WorkSafe could still lodge a complaint against the broader Carborough Downs entity because there is still an “arguable case for prerogative relief”.