Gladstone Ports Corporation says biosecurity, the safety of its workers and the wider community is always a priority.
Gladstone Ports Corporation says biosecurity, the safety of its workers and the wider community is always a priority.

GPC responds to coal port ‘weak link’ coronavirus concern

The miners union is concerned about what it says is an absence of biosecurity protocols at coal ports to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

CFMEU mining and energy Queensland vice-president Shane Brunker said the current approach is putting workers and the wider community at risk.

"While planes and cruise ships are boarded and checked by biosecurity agents before anyone else is exposed, coal port workers are the ones exposed to the crew of merchant vessels first," he said.

"Workers who have expressed concerns have been told to wear face masks and use hand sanitiser. That's just not good enough."

Based on the known incubation period of the virus and the time vessels spend at sea before they arrive in Australian waters, the Gladstone Ports Corporation considered the immediate threat relatively low.

"As a significant Port, GPC remains vigilant and active toward any risks presenting through our ports operations," a spokeswoman said.

"GPC always makes biosecurity, the safety of its workers and the wider community around our port a priority."

Biosecurity regulations at Australian ports are controlled by the Federal Department of Agriculture.

GPC said it was following the department's advice and would continue to monitor the situation.

The warning follows Queensland's first confirmed case of coronavirus on the Gold Coast.

The man, 44, remains in a stable condition at Gold Coast University Hospital, where he is in isolation.


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