Two extra mine inspectors after eighth death
TWO new coal mine inspectors will hit the beat in CQ mines as the Queensland Government seeks to improve safety for coal mine workers following another recent mining fatality.
Eight resource workers have died in the past 18 months including 33-year-old Donald Rabbit - a tyre fitter who lost his life earlier this week at the Blackwater Curragh Coal Mine.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said the pair of new inspectors were the first of four new recruits to boost the ranks of the state's coal and metalliferous mine and quarry inspectors to 46.
"The safety and the health of our 70,000 resource workers is paramount and our mine inspectors need to be close to where the mines are," Ms Lauga said.
"Two out of three of our inspectors are in regional Queensland because that's where most of the mines are."
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said the two new Rocky-based inspectors came with strong mining engineer credentials and 68 years' combined experience in the Queensland and global coal industry.
"Our resources industry is world-class and this demands strong, contemporary skills from our inspectors to work with industry and workers to enhance safety," Mr O'Rourke said.
On Monday the first inspectors will clock on, with the second expected to start work in just over two weeks.
Another two more recruits will join the regional team of inspectors in the coming fortnight: a new coal mines inspector in Mackay in 10 days and new minerals and quarries inspector in Mount Isa in just over two weeks.
Acting Mines Minister Mark Ryan said the new inspectors joined a team of mines inspectors that serviced mines and quarries from Cape York in Far North Queensland to the southeast corner and west to the Northern Territory border.
"Having most of our inspectors in the regions gives workers and the industry more efficient access to our inspectors and more inspectors to help keep our mine and quarry works safe," Mr Ryan said.
"That's critical to implementing this Government's current and upcoming health and safety reforms."
He said these reforms included:
• Better detection and prevention of black lung, and an improve safety net for affected workers.
• Increased maximum penalties and powers for the regulator powers to issue fines without going to court.
• Statewide safety reset sessions mine and quarry workers to refocus on health and safety.
• $35 million to deliver reforms to improve the safety and health of our mine workers.
• A commitment to tighter controls on mine dust levels.
• Legislation to go to parliament this year make industrial manslaughter an offence, as it is in other Queensland workplaces.
• Legislation already before the parliament to establish an independent resources health and safety authority.
• Potential further reforms to flow from two independent reviews to be tabled in the first 2020 sitting of parliament next month.