Burdekin MP Dale Last.
Burdekin MP Dale Last. Tara Croser

Safety advocates push for Mackay mines inspector boost

MINE safety advocates are leading the charge for three extra mines inspectors to be based in Mackay following a spate of fatalities in Queensland coal mines in the past 12 months.

Announced yesterday, the new inspectors will be added as part of a raft of mine and quarry safety initiatives the State Government put forward in response to the mine safety crisis.

The inspectors will be based in one of the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy's regional offices in Mackay, Mt Isa, Rockhampton and Townsville, with a decision yet to be made on the location.

Shadow Mines Minister Dale Last and CFMEU Queensland district president Stephen Smyth are pushing for the extra inspectors to be sent to Mackay, in addition to the seven currently based in the region.

Mr Smyth said Mackay, being the hub of Queensland's mining industry, was well-placed for the resources boost.

"Any extra inspectors are welcomed in Mackay - that's certainly where we need them for sure,” he said.

Mr Last said having more mines inspectors based in the region made "perfect sense”.

"It's a major service centre, there's a significant number of miners living in Mackay, it's hugely dependent on the resources sector - it ticks all the boxes for having extra mines inspectors based there,” he said.

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said the extra resources would help keep mine and quarry workers safe.

"The safety and health of every worker is paramount, particularly in our communities, where everyone has a friend or a family member who works at a mine site,” Mrs Gilbert said.

"We already have 44 qualified and experienced mines inspectors across the state and the extra three for regional Queensland are a welcome addition.”

Energy Minister Anthony Lynham told a safety forum of mining and quarrying chiefs and unions this week the three more inspectors and another Chief Inspector of Mines would be appointed as part of the government's response to recent mine deaths.

The recruitment process has already begun for the highly-specialised new inspectors and the Chief Inspector, but is expected to take some time due to the expertise required of the roles.

Mr Last described yesterday's announcement as a "step in the right direction” but has now called on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to say whether or not she supported the LNP's call for a bi-partisan Parliamentary Inquiry into mine safety.

"The premier has been missing in action for the past week,” he said.

"The fact that she hasn't bothered to respond (to the call for a Parliamentary Inquiry) highlights her indifference to this issue and that's appalling.”

A spokesman for Ms Palaszczuk said her press conference on the Sunshine Coast yesterday suggested "she's not missing at all”.

"The health and safety of our 49,000 mine and quarry workers is paramount for the Palaszczuk Government,” the spokesman said.

"Minister Lynham has now obtained a commitment from mining and quarrying chiefs for a safety reset for all workers. Before the end of August, all workers will stop work and complete extra safety training.

"Companies and mining unions have also committed to working together with government on further safety reforms.”

Mr Smyth welcomed yesterday's announcement, saying it was "well overdue”.


Deep-water spots are delivering good hauls

Deep-water spots are delivering good hauls

Everything you need to know to catch a winner

Proserpine sugar industry backs action against India

premium_icon Proserpine sugar industry backs action against India

Members of the Proserpine sugar industry support government action.

Parading for the living Reef

Parading for the living Reef

Sea creatures and colourful corals come to life.