11 visits in months before tragic mine fatality
THE mines inspectorate reviewed longwall operations and other safety issues at a Central Queensland underground mine just months before a worker died in a workplace tragedy.
Ipswich father Brad Duxbury, 57, died when coal fell from a longwall face at Carborough Downs Coal Mine on November 25 last year.
A parliamentary document has revealed the mines inspectorate visited the mine site 11 times in the four months before Mr Duxbury's death.
The visits involved planned inspections related to underground longwall workings, mechanical plant and gas management as well as investigations into matters raised with the inspectorate.
The matters related to two self-reported safety incidents between August and November 2019 and did not include the probe into Mr Duxbury's death.
Preliminary findings on the miner's death released in November last year found he died from a fall of coal but the cause of the coal fall has not been determined.
All 11 visits to the site occurred after the mine held its safety reset sessions in August.
The Daily Mercury contacted site owner Fitzroy Australia Resources for comment, but did not receive a response by deadline.
The information about the inspections was released in an answer to a Queensland Parliament question on notice Mirani MP Stephen Andrew submitted to Mines Minister Anthony Lynham.
Mr Andrew has now called for inspectors to be based permanently in the mining towns of Moranbah and Emerald to proactively respond to safety issues and concerns.
He also slammed the State Government's decision to base extra mines inspectors and the new independent mines safety and health watchdog in Brisbane.
"The token gesture of putting on extra staff is just not good enough," Mr Andrew said.
"It is no good having these extra people when they're not near a mine site.
"People need to get out of the city, actually go for a walk on the site and address these safety issues."
Mr Andrew said if inspectors were based in mining areas, there should be an "open door" policy where workers could voice their safety concerns to them directly.
Mr Lynham said the safety of the 70,000 resources sector workers in Queensland was important, though noted he had not been contacted by Mr Andrew about the matter.
"The Member for Mirani has not sought a meeting on this issue, or written me a letter, or raised it with me," he said.
"Our government has acted to protect these workers with three major packages of reforms to mining safety and health in three years.
"Queensland's 41 mines inspectors deal with mines and quarries from Cape York in Far North Queensland to the south-east corner and west to the Northern Territory border.
"They are located in Atherton, Mount Isa, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, and Brisbane, where they have the most efficient access to as many locations as possible. Another four inspectors will commence next month - three of these in the Bowen Basin and one in Mt Isa."