Shadow Mines Minister Dale Last.
Shadow Mines Minister Dale Last. Bianca Hrovat

MINE SAFETY: LNP to move motion for parliamentary inquiry

THE LNP will move a motion to establish a parliamentary inquiry into mine safety next week in Parliament and has called for bipartisan support from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

It comes after The Australian reported allegations from the CFMEU that managers of Baralaba North coal mine waited 12 hours to report the state's most recent mine fatality.

A mine safety alert confirmed miner Jack Gerdes, 27, died when he was trapped in a moving part of an excavator after activating the emergency release on July 7.

Under Queensland's coal mine safety laws, after any death or serious accident the mine's site senior executive must inform a government inspector and an industry safety representative "as soon as practicable".

CFMEU mining and energy Queensland district president Stephen Smyth said its industry safety representative was not told about Mr Gerdes's death for 12 hours.

He said the union would recommend prosecution, with Shadow Mines Minister Dale Last also demanding an explanation.

Mine owner Baralaba North Coal Company did not respond to a request for comment on the allegation.

"Serious questions also need to be asked about why so many mine safety roles have been and remain vacant under the Palaszczuk Labor Government," Mr Last said.

"With the state's chief inspector recently resigning, it's clear all is not well with Queensland's mine safety regulator."

It follows revelations that the number of Queensland mine inspections dropped year-on-year from 1781 in 2015-16 to 1241 in 2017-18.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said greater emphasis was being placed on mine audits compared to traditional inspections.

He said while an inspection might take one or two inspectors a day, an audit was a more in-depth analysis and took a team of inspectors a week.

But Mr Last said something was "clearly going wrong" in Queensland.

"That's why the LNP will move a motion to establish a full parliamentary inquiry into mine safety next week in Parliament," Mr Last said.

"These alarming figures, vacancies and accusations underline the need for Annastacia Palaszczuk to call an immediate parliamentary inquiry into mine safety in Queensland."

Dr Lynham has not indicated support for a parliamentary inquiry.

He said the State Government was taking immediate action on the "totally unacceptable" loss of life and serious injuries mine and quarry workers suffered.

"Two expert independent reviews are now underway to identify changes needed to improve health and safety in the state's mines and quarries," Dr Lynham said.

"More than 11,000 miners at nearly 250 sites have already taken part in a safety reset, which is continuing across the state.

"I look forward to continuing to work together on reforms to strengthen safety culture in the resources sector - including legislative reforms."



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