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Tuesday, 11 May 1965

Senator ORMONDE (New South Wales) . - Senator Scott, when referring to a visit that he had paid to a mechanised colliery in Newcastle, said that the mine was fully mechanised from top to bottom and that the coal could be won ever so much more cheaply from a mechanised mine if the miners would agree to work the machines on two shifts. Senator Scott implied that the miners were partly to blame for the fact that more coal was not being taken from the mine at a cheaper rate.

In explanation and in defence of the mine workers I point out that for 10 years mechanised mining has been carried out on one shift a day and the number of men employed in the industry has decreased by 50 per cent. In other words, there are only half as many people in the industry today, with mechanised mining operating on only one shift, compared with 10 years ago. Now, I ask Senator Scott what would happen if mechanisation were applied to two shifts. No matter how mechanised coal mining becomes, we will always need men in the industry.

I would not like honorable senators to think that the miners do not have good reason to oppose mechanised mining "for two shifts a day. Although generally speaking coal mining in Australia is a one shift industry, awards are often varied by agreement to enable mechanical mining to be done during two shifts. Although this cuts across awards and customs there are instances where it is possible to work two shifts of mechanised mining.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

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