Opposition natural resources spokesman and Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: Melanie Whiting
Opposition natural resources spokesman and Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: Melanie Whiting

Law exams considered for Qld mine safety

OFFICIALS in the mining industry will need to prove their knowledge about mine safety before being appointed in Queensland under an Liberal National Party government.

Burdekin MP and Natural Resources and Mines shadow spokesman Dale Last said it was time for common-sense to be applied to mine safety.

More stories:

Investigation into gas safety incident at Moranbah mine

FACES OF TRAGEDY: Workers lost in mine disasters

'Twelve more workers will die': Mining's horror outlook 

"It's all well and good to have laws about mine safety but they are useless if key people are unaware of them," Mr Last said.

"I am appalled to think that people in positions that directly affect the safety of workers do not need to prove they understand Queensland's mine health and safety legislation."

Mr Last said under the LNP, Queensland will always welcome skilled workers to fill positions in mines but they will need to prove they understand Queensland laws first.

"Call it a law exam or whatever you like. I call it a common-sense way to improve mine safety," he said.

Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the health and safety of all workers was paramount for the Labor Government. 

"Our government has made sweeping reforms over the past five years to protect the safety and health of mine workers," Mr Lynham said. 

"There are currently rigorous background checks made prior to granting mutual recognition to applicants from other states and we will continue to work with the independent Board of Examiners and other stakeholders to best protect Queensland workers."

Mr Last said the current mining laws need to be changed after multiple mining incidents this year, including the explosion at Anglo American's Grosvenor coal mine at Moranbah.

Anglo American’s Grosvenor coal mine
Anglo American’s Grosvenor coal mine

"After every serious incident or death that occurred on his watch, Anthony Lynham said he would get answers," Mr Last said.

"You can say you have the toughest laws all you like but, if the people in charge don't know the laws, they are virtually worthless."

Mr Last said his first course of action on mine safety if he was appointed as Mines Minister would be to ask the Board of Examiners to investigate whether qualifications from other states and territories were as comprehensive as Queensland's qualifications.

"Queensland will need its mines and quarries working at an optimum level to help us recover from the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.

"The only way the industry works at its optimum level is where we have qualified workers with the right skills and knowledge to ensure workers are safe because, without the workers, there are huge ramifications for all of Queensland."

Minister Natural Resources and Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham welcomes the new board members. Photo: John Gass
Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the health and safety of all workers is paramount for a Labor Government.

"If we expect workers to prove their competency to operate machinery then it's only fair for statutory officials to prove their competency when it comes to the laws."

Mr Lynham said independent Board of Examiners has already completed a large body of work on this complex matter and further work is continuing regarding qualifications and competency as well as mutual recognition of other states competencies.

"Once again, the member for Burdekin has shown an absolutely failure to grasp or even understand this issue as well as a complete disregard for the independent board of examiners." he said.