International speakers highlighted concerns about the safety of Chevron operations at a public meeting attended by over 300 people in Perth, Western Australia.
The forum, hosted by the Maritime Union of Australia (WA Branch) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation, featured Mike Smith, a union official from the United Steelworkers’ Union Local 5 in Richmond California who travelled to Perth to address the meeting in person.
The Chevron facility in Richmond California is the location of a major explosion that saw 15,000 people sent to hospital two years ago.
Mr. Smith is a former operator and OHS representative at the refinery in Richmond who spoke about his union’s experiences of Chevron’s commitment to the safety of their workforce and the local community.
When asked by a member of the audience if he felt that, based on his experiences, the Australian community should trust Chevron to operate safely on Barrow Island, an A class nature reserve, Smith answered “no”.
MUAWA Secretary Christy Cain said that West Australians need to understand the lessons from the Richmond plant, especially as Chevron seeks to bring its Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG plants online over the next few years.
“With Gorgon being built on a A-Class nature reserve, and Wheatstone being built close to onshore communities, it is vitally important that all Western Australians have an understanding of Chevron’s safety record,” Cain said.
Press Release, July 28, 2014