QLD coal seam gas producers could pay more under new govt

The humiliating defeat of Anna Bligh and her Queensland Labor party by the Liberal National Party could have big impacts for coal seam gas producers who want to explore on farming land.

As part of its campaign, Campbell Newman’s LNP party promised to compensate those impacted by mining, including farmers, in a “full and fair” way, which would include the company paying any legal costs, as well as compensation for loss of future development opportunities, The Financial Review reports.

Companies would also be required to spend time negotiating with resource companies, and CSG producers may be forced to make their contracts with landowners available to the public.

There are currently almost $50 billion worth of CSG projects under construction in Queensland, mostly owned by companies including Santos, Origin Energy and BG Group.

However MP Bob Katter doesn’t believe the LNP will behave any differently towards CSG than Labor did, warning Queenslanders they would soon find out ‘they voted in a similar animal’ to Labor, singling out issues such as growing community opposition to coal seam gas mining.”

‘The majority of things they are angry about they will face under a Liberal government with a bigger majority,’ he said.

Are you a Queensland farmer facing possible CSG exploration or drilling? How do you think the LNP government will be different?

Duncan Hines recalls two cake mixes over undeclared allergens

Two variations of cupcake mixes have been recalled over undeclared allergens in the product.

Duncan Hines is recalling its Moist Deluxe Devil’s Food Cupcakes mix in 255g red cardboard boxes, with all ‘best before’ dates, as it contains tree nuts.

The Moist Deluxe Confetti Cupcakes mix in 255g red cardboard box from the same company with all ‘best before’ dates is found to contain tree nuts and milk.

The products of concern have been sold at Woolworths, Food for Less and Flemings supermarkets in throughout the country.

The allergens, which can cause illness for some people, did not have the required declarations on the packets.

Anyone who is allergic or intolerant to milk products or tree nuts have been advised not to consume the product and return it to the store where it was purchased for a full refund.

Worker loses finger, food manufacturer fined $60 000

Food manufacturer Healthy Snacks Australia has been fined $60 000 after an employee had a finger partially severed by a machine.

The Australian food producer plead guilty in the Moorabbin Magistrates’ Court this week to one count of failing to provide a safe system of work and proper instruction, training and supervision.

The worker had crawled under a machine that was used to manufacture and pack health bars, to clean its rollers.

The court heard that crawling under the machine to remove the guarding was common practise in the factory.

During the time the worker was cleaning the machine, it would remain on so that the rollers could be cleaned.

But on 29 June 2010, when the worker was performing the task, the cloth she was using became stuck and as she tried to pull it out, her other hand, which was resting on the machine so she could balance herself, became stuck between the rollers.

The moving machinery severed part of her middle finger.

The investigation by WorkSafe determined that Healthy Snacks Australia failed to undertake any risk assessment associated with the use of the machine, or ensure employees did not clean the machine while it was operating and while it was possible to access dangerous moving parts.

It also found the company did not provide any standardised or consistent training and supervision to workers who cleaned the machine or provide employees with standard operating procedures, including cleaning procedures for the machine.

It received a $60 000 fine without conviction and was ordered to pay an additional $3430 in costs to WorkSafe.

WorkSafe’s Manufacturing, Logistics and Agriculture Acting Director, Mary Chojnacki said the company had failed to ensure some fundamental requirements.

“A serious injury and a $60,000 fine could have been prevented if appropriate steps were taken to adequately guard and supervise the machine while it was being cleaned, something that would have cost far less,” she said.

“If there are instances where machines can operate without guarding, employers need to fix this as a matter of urgency. Not doing so is just not worth it.”

“Despite the obvious risks it is unfortunately all too common for machines to be kept running while they’re being cleaned. Every time that happens, there is a risk of serious injury or death.”

“WorkSafe takes incidents like this seriously.

“In this case, the company was investigated and charged in just eight months.”

“This sends a strong message to all employers that safety must be a priority.

“The consequences can be not only immediate for the worker but for businesses, an unwanted court appearance and potential fine.”

“WorkSafe actively enforces the law. Since July last year, 79 prosecutions have commenced compared with 56 in the previous corresponding period.”

Last year WorkSafe’s Michael Birt told Food Magazine that the food industry is a major hotspot for injuries and accidents.

“The food manufacturing industry is one of the targeted industries in 2010, 11 and 12, because it isn’t getting there,” he said.

“We’re running a campaign this year targeting eight high risk industries, and food manufacturing is one of the eight, along with other related industries road ytansport and warehousing and storage.”

And just last month a spokesperson from WorkCover NSW told Food Magazine that the rates of incidents does not seem to be declining.

“Generally speaking often there is a reluctance from an organisation to want to engage with any regulators, whether its WorkCover or another food industry body,” the spokesperson said.
“But we strongly encourage companies to be proactive.
“We would much prefer they be proactive and talk to us so we can come out there and give our input.

“I know it is difficult and we are always working strongly to change the perspective of what we do and we are very keen to engage with industry.

“I think it’s a bit back to front.

“If an organisation could cause someone to be seriously injured or worse, killed, it is only in their best interest to talk to us and avoid any injuries and the costs and damage to reputation that would cause.

“It’s all about gaining competitive advantage these days between companies so people need to embrace safety and be proactive about it.”

Offal spill closes road for 3 days

A stretch of highway in the south west of Western Australia has been closed after a load of offal was spilled onto the road.

The truck carrying the offal, a combination of internal organs and entrails of a butchered animal which is considered a delicacy for some people, lost its load at about 6:30pm on Monday.

The 25 kilometre section of the South Western Highway where the offal was scattered, has been closed to traffic since in the incident on Monday, with police planning to review the situation this morning.

They say the extensive clean up effort has resulted in the road being closed for so long.

Pregnant women avoiding “risky” foods lacking proper nutrition: study

An Australian study has found women who are pregnant or trying to conceive are not getting adequate nutrition because they’re avoiding potentially “risky” foods.

The University of Newcastle study has led to questions about whether the warnings about which foods to consume and avoid during pregnancy need a review.

Published in Public Health Nutrition, the study is the first to look at nutrient intakes of pregnant women who abided by warnings about Listeria and avoided foods including soft cheeses, pre-packaged salads and cold meats.

Listeria is linked to still birth and premature birth and those who eat foods potentially containing the bug face a 20 per cent higher chance of miscarriage.

But, the problem is that women who do consume these foods and therefore run the risk of pregnancy complications, also have the highest intake of nutrients essential for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

“This is quite a dilemma,” lead researcher, Professor Clare Collins said.

“It is important for pregnant women to achieve a balance between an adequate intake of nutrients such as folate, iron, zinc and protein, and reducing their risk of Listeriosis.

“In our study, moderate or low consumption of foods at risk of contamination by Listeria was not associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, suggesting that a balanced consumption of potentially risky foods with foods containing essential nutrients may be the best approach.”

She said the findings from the study suggest a more detailed set of recommendations might be needed, as the current Australian Government may be too simplistic in its warnings about Listeria and food avoidance.

“The recommendations need to include the list of ‘risky’ foods, but should focus on giving women low-risk alternatives to help them meet their optimal nutrient targets,” Collins explained.

“Women need to know how to balance opposing risks.

“We want them to feel confident about the foods they choose, so they minimise the risk of Listeriosis while giving their baby the best possible start to life.”

Listeriosis is relatively rare in Australia today, as regulations around food preparation and storage are improved.

In 2008, there were about 65 cases of Listeriosis reported in Australia.

Of those, 12 of occurred during pregnancy and one case was fatal.

“Our findings suggest that a moderate consumption of potentially risky foods may be the optimal approach,” the authors concluded.

SA grain mill up in flames

In the midst of some of the worst floods to hit Australia in over 50 years, a South Australian grain mill caught fire early this morning.

Fire crews had the blaze at the Lauckle Flour Mill in Freeling, about 60 kilometres north of Adelaide, under control by 4am this morning.

It is believed to have originally started at about 6pm last night.

Fire crews are still at five-storey grain silo checking for hot spots that could fuel another blaze.

It is believed to have been caused by grain at the bottom of the conveyor belt catching fire, and no injuries have been reported at this stage.