“Tip-offs” of unannounced mine safety inspections, questions over the adequacy of emergency services in mining communities and evidence of Minister Lynham’s inaction have led Queensland’s Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dale Last, to pose a blunt question on behalf of Queensland’s miners in Parliament this week.
“How many more lives do we have to see lost and permanently impacted before this government will take action?” Mr Last asked.
“For over twelve months, I have been highlighting the need for increased unannounced safety inspections, as was recommended in the Black Lung White Lies inquiry. Minister Lynham has made excuse after excuse why unannounced inspections can’t be increased but, now, we have sworn testimony that unannounced inspections are, actually, announced.”
“Yesterday (Thursday) in parliament I asked the Premier about vacancies in the inspectorate and, although she didn’t have the details, the Premier said those positions should be filled as a matter of urgency. Well, the fact is we have evidence that there were vacancies in November 2019 and there are still vacancies 9 months later.”
“Minister Lynham’s incompetence has been confirmed by the Premier. How any miner, let alone the Premier of Queensland, can have any faith in Minister Lynham’s ability is beyond me.”
Mine inspection failure
“The fact that Minister Lynham then tried to downplay the importance of filling vacant roles in the inspectorate just a few hours later speaks volumes about his priorities. Instead of being honest and working for the safest workplaces possible, Minister Lynham is focussed on his reputation.”
Mr Last said that it was not only Minister Lynham who the Premier needed to “push into action”.
“The Premier has some homework to do when it comes to ensuring the safety of Queensland’s miners,” Mr Last said. “I would hope that the Premier would also be asking Minister Miles and Minister Crawford to urgently review the adequacy of hospital, ambulance and fire services in Moranbah and throughout the Bowen Basin.”
“I understand that, currently, resources of this type are based on the number of permanent residents. There is the potential for these services to be grossly inadequate based on the number of FIFO and DIDO workers.”
“I’m happy to work with the state government and the federal government if there is a need for increased services. Each and every Queenslander effectively ‘earns’ $1,000 per year from mine royalties so we need to ensure we look after the people that make those royalties possible.”
You can watch the interview with Dale Last below.
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