While pledging his support for the creation of Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) in parliament today, Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dale Last, turned up the heat on his government counterpart, Dr Anthony Lynham, and demanded the new mine safety entity “does the job properly”.
Drawing inspiration from the family of a victim of a mining accident, Mr Last said Queensland’s mine and quarry workers deserved answers and called on the government to put politics aside for once.
No ministerial board of inquiry for accidents
“The fact is that Minister Lynham holds the power to order a Ministerial Board of Inquiry into any serious mine accident and workers deserve to know what he hasn’t used that power in the wake of eight deaths in 18 months,” Mr Last said.
“Because we believe that resources workers deserve to go home safely after every shift we have poured over this legislation in minute detail and it is now on the record that if the implementation fails, the blame will fall at Minister Lynham and this government’s feet.”
“We want an absolute commitment from the government that RSHQ will be staffed appropriately, that senior management will be focused solely on worker safety and that this is not an excuse to add red tape to Queensland’s resources sector.”
“Workers, their families and their communities deserve 100% transparency and they deserve to know what is being done to make their workplaces safer, not waiting for committees to meet and seeing inspection targets missed.”
An inquiry should have been established
Mr Last said that, despite the creation of RSHQ, there was a still a need for a full parliamentary inquiry to “identify the problems and solutions once and for all.”
“Minister Lynham should have created a Ministerial Board of Inquiry and, if he had, we could potentially have some of the answers we need,” Mr Last said. “But, despite his claims that he supports resources workers, he didn’t so the need to identify the issues remains.”
“The LNP is acting in the best interests of mine and quarry workers to improve their safety by agreeing to this legislation but we will not rest in our fight to get ALL of the answers that workers deserve.”
“These are people whose health and safety must be paramount and it is an industry that is essential to every Queenslander. We have put political differences aside to get answers on Black Lung but the Minister seems reluctant to have a public inquiry.”
“The LNP has stood shoulder to shoulder with our miners on this and other issues because we know they deserve the truth and they deserve the answers. Minister Lynham knows that we will be watching the implementation of RSHQ like a hawk and, if he doesn’t get it right, Queensland’s resource workers will know who to blame.”
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