CUT: alarming figures revealed the number of mine inspections in Queensland have been slashed.
CUT: alarming figures revealed the number of mine inspections in Queensland have been slashed. Agnormark

MINE SAFETY: Figures show alarming drop in mine inspections

THE Opposition has accused the State Government of "putting the lives of mineworkers on the line” after alarming figures revealed the number of mine inspections in Queensland have been slashed by more than 500 a year.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham has responded to the figures, saying mines inspectors are now placing more emphasis on mine audits compared to traditional inspections.

The figures, which show the number of inspections has dropped year-on-year from 1781 in 2015-16 to 1241 in 2017-18, were released today in answer to a question-on-notice from Shadow Mines Minister Dale Last.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington said the State Government's inspection cuts were putting mineworkers in danger, as the industry grappled with a spate of fatalities in Queensland coal mines in the past 12 months.

"The Palaszczuk Labor Government is putting the lives of mineworkers on the line,” Ms Frecklington said.

"There can be no justification for the massive reduction in mining inspections implemented by Labor.”

Dr Lynham said the increased emphasis on mine audits was noted by the independent Mine Health and Safety Commissioner in her 2017-18 report.

"An inspection might take one or two inspectors a day - an audit is a more in-depth analysis and takes a team of inspectors several days,” he said.

"In the past year government has acted: mine health and safety laws have been reformed, giving inspectors new powers and increasing maximum fines.

"Last week I obtained a commitment from mining and quarrying chiefs for a safety reset for all of their workers and to work together with government on further safety reforms.”

Three extra mines inspectors and another Chief Inspector of Mines will also be appointed as part of the government's response to recent mine deaths but a decision is yet to be made on where they will be based.

Mr Last has now ramped up calls for the State Government to commit to a Parliamentary Inquiry into mine safety in Queensland.

"The reduction in investigations proves that we need an open and independent Parliamentary Inquiry into mine safety because the Palaszczuk Government has clearly dropped the ball,” he said.

"If these reductions are due to cost-cutting then we need to get to the bottom of it and do the right thing by the hard-working men and women in the resources industry.”

The State Government has not indicated support for such a move.

"Government has acted, for workers, and their families, while all that the LNP has offered is yet another inquiry,” Dr Lynham said.


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