Parliament told of ports complaints

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Albany Port from Mt Melville.
Camera IconAlbany Port from Mt Melville. Credit: Albany Advertiser

WorkSafe received 24 complaints about conditions at Southern Ports Authority during its investigation into bullying and harassment.

That number was revealed in Parliament last month, after South West MLC Steve Caldwell questioned the State Government over two WorkSafe improvement notices issued to SPA in August.

Minister for Commerce and Industrial Relations Bill Johnston’s office confirmed eight formal complaints were submitted during the investigation, as well as 16 informal complaints.

Dr Caldwell later called on Worksafe to release details of their investigations, without which he said the notice proved little.

“I want to look at what was actually happening verses rumour and innuendo,” he said.

“If there’s no report, how do we know what’s going on?”

A WorkSafe representative said the complaints had been substantiated and said improvement notices were a serious issue.

She said the investigation was open and could not be commented on.

SPA was given until December 17 to correct the issues.

Two WorkSafe improvement notices were issued to each of SPA’s three ports, including allegations workplace culture had exposed employees “to acute and cumulative psychosocial hazards” and managers had failed to provide support in line with their training.

While Southern Ports interim chief executive Alan Byers conceded SPA “could do more” to prevent workplace hazards, he defended the organisation’s record.

“We have not shied away from the fact there have been bullying claims,” he said. “Every bullying complaint raised has been thoroughly investigated and appropriately dealt with.”

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