Member for Burdekin and Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dale Last, has called on Mines Minister, Anthony Lynham, to take immediate action on glaring problems highlighted during the Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry.
Mr Last said waiting for the inquiry to be finalised was no longer an option, especially given that he had called for a similar process to start over twelve months ago.
“The evidence that is coming out of the Board of Inquiry with regards to training and competencies makes me sick to the stomach,” Mr Last said. “For the Queensland Mines Minister to do nothing while safety standards are effectively ignored is unforgivable.”
“I have no problem with mutual recognition of qualifications, but they have to be comparable qualifications. What we are seeing from the inquiry, and from other sources, is clear evidence that Queensland is letting people holding crucial roles take the easy option and that can put lives at risk.”
“A twenty-five-year veteran of the industry said the New South Wales system was easier but that their qualifications were being mutually recognised1. That should be ringing alarm bells in the Minister’s office.”
Mr Last said that, while the Board’s findings and recommendations were not due until November 30th, the interim report due Monday must be the impetus for action and called on it to be made public.
“You can look through the transcripts and see massive differences in the two training regimes,” Mr Last said. “You don’t need a final report to see that an exam that takes 45 minutes in New South Wales is nothing even close to equivalent to an exam that takes four hours in Queensland2.”
“We are no longer even making sure that people holding statutory positions know the Queensland laws. How can we expect them to act within the law when there is no proof that they even know the law?”
“In 66 days (as at 27 August), Queenslanders go to the polls and, if the interim report is not released, even the smallest glimmer of the recommendations from the Board of Inquiry won’t be known until at least a month later.”
“Minister Lynham ignored my calls for an inquiry for almost 12 months and, now that we are finally uncovering the truth, the full story won’t be told until after the election. No one can convince me that the timing of that isn’t deliberate.”
“Obviously, the final recommendations of the Board of Inquiry will be needed to address a full range of issues but one thing I can promise is that, if I am elected as the Minister for Mines on October 31st, Queensland will not accept qualifications that are less strict or easier than ours in our mines.”
“I fully support the Board of Examiners doing their job but, as someone who has spoken to the families, I am sick and tired of incidents and deaths in Queensland’s mines and quarries. If someone gets their feelings hurt because the Minister takes responsibility and says we need to do better; then so be it.”
“I have said it time and time again, safety comes first and, if that means, people need to undertake extra training or re-sit exams then that’s what needs to happen. The men and women who earn this state over $5 Billion in royalties each year deserve a Minister who will make the tough calls when it comes to safety and, it’s very obvious, the current one is not up to the job.”
Read more Mining Safety News