Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dale Last, believes the current system of mine safety audits for coal mines needs to a “full overhaul” in the wake of figures released today.
In parliament, Mr Last recently asked for details of the number of audits planned, and the number actually undertaken, and he said the response was “sickening.”
“These figures prove that the current government is reducing the number of planned audits and that, in one year, just over half of the planned audits actually took place,” Mr Last said.
“This is exactly the issues I wanted to address via a parliamentary inquiry into mine safety but the government shut that down and we now know why.”
“In 2017-18, 82 audits were planned and just 42 actually took place. In 2018-19, there were less audits planned and, even then, they weren’t all completed.”
Mr Last said the figures indicated mineral mines and quarries were being targeted for audits and questioned whether the Coal Inspectorate was adequately resourced by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.
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“On the weekend we learned that the Queensland Mines Inspectorate (QMI) was facing serious challenges in investigating safety breaches and now we learn that they are dreadfully behind on coal mine audits,” he said.
“Minister Lynham has some serious questions to answer and he needs to provide the answers because we are talking about the safety of workers.”
“The parliamentary inquiry I proposed was designed to get to the bottom of the issues and to give workers the chance to be heard without fear or favour but Minister Lynham and this government chose to put politics ahead of safety.”
“Resources workers and their families deserve to know why audits aren’t happening and what is contributing to the recent tragedies we have seen.”Dale Last, Queensland Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
“There was absolutely no reason why the Mine Safety Resets could not have continued alongside a bipartisan committee to explore the causes and identify solutions.”
“It’s not good enough to expect workers to risk their jobs to expose safety issues when a parliamentary inquiry would let them have their say without threats or intimidation.”
“I have been very clear in saying that safety of workers must come first and, if there are resource companies that are not doing the right thing, we need to find out and they deserve to have the book thrown at them.”
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“If these audits aren’t being done because of staffing issues then we need to identify those issues and find a solution; not play politics with people’s health and safety.”
“Minister Lynham and the current government are on notice; I will keep working to get to the bottom of these issues and I will continue to shine a light on making sure the safety of resource workers remains front and centre when it comes to Queensland’s mines and quarries.”
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