A Queensland MP says that the Queensland Government should make do on its’ pre-election commitment to relocate the mine safety and health regulator to Mackay.
Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan today pledged to relocate Queensland’s new mine safety and health regulator from Brisbane to Mackay if North Queensland First is provided with the balance of power in the upcoming Queensland Government.
Following the horrendous explosion at the Grosvenor mine near Moranbah which seriously injured five mineworkers, Mr Costigan said if North Queensland First secured the balance of power, he would insist that soon-to-be-established Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) be relocated to Mackay in accordance with the key recommendations of the State Parliament’s now-defunct Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis (CWP) Select Committee.
“It beggars belief that Queensland’s regulator for mine safety and health matters will be based nowhere near the Bowen Basin, nowhere near the North West Minerals Province and nowhere near the soon-to-be-developed Galilee Basin,” Mr Costigan said in a key pre-election commitment, challenging the major parties to follow suit.
“I refuse to roll over on this issue after the excellent work of that CWP Select Committee in dealing with not only the scourge of black lung disease but also, more broadly, safety and health issues in the resources sector. There was always an expectation that the new regulator would be established in Mackay, much closer to the action.
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“Sadly, the Palaszczuk Labor Government went off in another direction and the LNP Opposition failed to fire a shot in response. In fact, their spokesman on the mining industry showed no enthusiasm to have the new authority in Mackay – a sad indictment on the LNP’s Member for Burdekin who represents mining communities in our hinterland, not forgetting the huge number of mine workers now living between Gladstone and Townsville.”
Mr Costigan said North Queensland First would hold both major parties to account on the issue, which has had extensive airplay since the revelations uncovered by the CWP Select Committee (See report), comprising himself and other MPs who travelled far and wide in their work.
“The miners, both current and retired, along with their families, colleagues, the mining union and even the mining companies were taken aback by how that committee worked together for the common good – to make the system better and to do whatever we could to stop the scourge of black lung whilst changing the whole approach to mine safety,” he said.
“We wanted this one-stop-shop in Mackay for practical reasons and less than six months before the State Election, I now commit that if North Queensland First secures the balance of power, we’ll make sure the new regulator, which still hasn’t actually been established, is moved to Mackay – something that most stakeholders fully support.”
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