Shock figures reveal mine audits down 50% from target
THE LNP has demanded greater transparency in safety processes at Queensland mine sites after shocking figures revealed almost 50 per cent of planned audits at coal mines did not eventuate in 2017-18.
The number of coal mine inspections has steadily declined in recent years from 411 in 2016-17, to 390 in 2017-18 and 365 in 2018-19.
In his response to a question on notice asked on October 15, Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said inspections had been progressively replaced by mine audits.
"(These audits) are a more in-depth analysis of a mine operation's safety and health system and provide more valuable feedback to mine operators regarding improvements," Dr Lynham said.
This is backed up by annual Queensland Mines and Quarries Safety Performance and Health Reports, which showed audits at Queensland coal mines dramatically increased from 10 in 2016-17, to 42 in 2017-18 and 56 in 2018-19.
But the 42 audits that actually took place in 2017-18 was almost 50 per cent less than the 82 audits that were planned.
The 56 audits that occurred in 2018-19 were also down from the planned 65.
Safety practices in the state's mining industry has come under intense scrutiny following a spate of workplace fatalities in the sector over the past 12 months.
Shadow Mines Minister Dale Last has urged Dr Lynham to "come clean" on the states' mine safety program.
"The minister said that inspections are being replaced by more comprehensive audits, but in August he admitted that the target for audits was also not being met," Mr Last said.
"It's issues like this that prove we need a parliamentary inquiry into mine safety.
"Resources workers and their families deserve to know why audits and inspections aren't happening and what is contributing to the recent tragedies we have seen."
As part of the State Government's response following the mining tragedies, a safety reset was conducted across Queensland's mines and quarries.
The government also announced the recruitment of three more mines inspectors and a chief inspector of coal mining.
Two expert independent reviews are underway to identify changes needed to improve health and safety in the state's mines and quarries.