AMSJ » Government approach to mine safety an ‘insult’
Queensland

Government approach to mine safety an ‘insult’

the Queensland Government approach to mine safety

The Queensland Shadow Minister for mine safety says that the Queensland Government’s approach to mine safety is an insult to workers in the resources sector after further delays to reports on conditions in the sector.

Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dale Last, fears any strengthening of mine safety laws will be delayed until after the October election.

Mr Last had previously called for an inquiry into mine safety in Queensland following the death of six workers in the sector. In August 2019, Mr Last told the Queensland Parliament:

“The inquiry needs to be public and it needs to be transparent. We need to hear from industry, from miners and from their communities in regional Queensland. Miners at the coalface and from the quarries deserve to be heard and we simply must listen. We must, all of us, embrace a process that will get to the bottom of this crisis without fear or favour—a process that is the first step in restoring confidence to our miners and their communities.”

Dale Last, Queensland Parliament, Record of Proceedings, Wednesday, 21st August 2019 Available Here

Fears independent reports will be buried

Mr Last said “First we were told the two independent reports would be completed by December last year, then we were told they would be tabled in parliament in February, and now we learn that recommendations won’t be finalised until Easter”

“How can anyone who works in the resources sector have an ounce of faith in the current Labor government when, at the absolute earliest, it will be at least July before any of these long-term recommendations are debated in parliament.”

“After Easter, parliament goes straight into the Budget and Estimates sittings so the fact is that any legislation from those recommendations can’t be introduced into parliament until at least July 14th.”

“Once the Estimates process takes place there are only four sitting weeks before the parliament is dissolved for the election so, if that legislation needs to go through the Committee Process, you can guarantee it will be the next parliament dealing with it; not the current one.”

Mr Last said the current government was “all talk and no action” on mine safety and said that attempts by Acting Minister, Mark Ryan, to discredit the opposition were “a dangerous precedent”.

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“Workers in the resources sector, and their families, deserve to see the two independent reports straight away”  

Dale Last, Queensland Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines

“If Mark Ryan and this government were serious about fixing this problem, the reports would have been published by now.”

“Instead, they are doing what they have done from the start; using delaying tactics and expecting Queenslanders to believe them.  Every Queenslander, and especially our resource sector workers, should be asking what this current government has to hide.”

“Instead of creating ways to delay fixing this problem, Mark Ryan should look resource workers in the eye and tell them why they don’t deserve to know what this government is doing to improve their safety until July at the earliest.”

Approach to mine safety characterised by delays

“Mark Ryan can accuse me of being silent all he likes but he should remember that it was a Labor Member of Parliament who said it was a waste of taxpayer money to fully investigate mine safety.”

“Labor’s playbook when it comes to resources hasn’t changed.  They order reports and studies into the issue and then they sit on them and hope that everyone forgets.”

“With the Carmichael Mine it took a federal election for Labor to realise that Queenslanders support our resources sector.  What will it take for Labor to realise that Queenslanders also support our resource sector workers?”

“When an Acting Minister stands up and admits we have already waited seven months, and that we will wait almost another six months to see the legislation in parliament, you have to question the competence of not just the Acting Minister but the Minister himself.”

“By not making the reports public as soon as possible, the current government is basically admitting that they have something to hide or there is something they don’t want the workers to know.”

“There have been so many questions raised about the inspection and audit processes in Queensland’s mines that people are already suspicious without answers being delayed.”

Read more Mining Safety News or on the Queensland Government’s approach to mine safety