War of words after call to base mine safety regulator in CQ
A WAR of words has erupted after NQ First leader Jason Costigan pledged to relocate Queensland's new mine safety and health regulator from Brisbane to Mackay, if his party secures the balance of power at October's election.
Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Burdekin MP Dale Last, said this was another example of Jason "cut-and-paste-again" adopting the LNP's policy and re-announcing it as his own.
"It really is time for the Member for Whitsunday to start coming up with his own policies if he wants to be taken seriously," Mr Last said.
But Mr Costigan fired straight back.
"It's a bit rich for the Member for Burdekin to suggest I'm copying LNP policy," Mr Costigan said.
"It's him who's trotting out the same old crap - so much so, that Dale Last should be the Shadow Minister for Recycling.
"I don't remember him sitting alongside me, listening to the heartbreaking stories of those miners and their families who've been impacted by black lung disease.
"Some of them are lucky to be alive today.
"Where was the Member for Burdekin when all that was happening?
"Perhaps the LNP's last man standing in the north was too busy, combing his hair or organising a coup against Lawrence Springborg."
A week after the explosion at the Grosvenor mine near Moranbah which seriously injured five mine workers, Mr Costigan said if NQ First secured the balance of power, he would insist the soon-to-be established Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) be relocated to Mackay.
"It beggars belief that Queensland's regulator for mine safety and health matters will be based nowhere near the Bowen Basin, nowhere near the North West Minerals Province and nowhere near the soon-to-be developed Galilee Basin," Mr Costigan said.
Mr Last said the location of the mine safety regulator was a recommendation of the Black Lung White Lies inquiry, and Minister Anthony Lynham decided to override the recommendations of a panel that included industry experts and base the regulator in Brisbane. "Ever since the Minister announced the relocation, I and the LNP have been calling for the Minister to do the right thing, follow the recommendations of the inquiry and base the regulator in Mackay," Mr Last said.
One Nation candidate for Keppel Wade Rothery, a former Mine's Rescue and Grosvenor miner whose former crew are fighting for their lives after last week's explosion, said unless the government planned to re-open an abundance of coal mines in Ipswich, there was absolutely no reason Queensland's mine safety and health regulator should be located in Brisbane.
"If departments like Natural Resources, Mines and Energy are to represent the industry and workers that are predominantly located in Central and Northern Queensland, they should be based where the action is, and that's either Rockhampton, Mackay or Townsville," Mr Rothery said.
"I wouldn't have a real estate agent manage an Emu Park or Yeppoon rental property from Brisbane, so why would the Labor Party want almost 90 inspectors managing mines throughout the Bowen and Galilee Basins from Brisbane?"
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said 20 of Queensland's 25 coal mine inspectors were already based in Mackay and Rockhampton.
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said he was proud the government had some of the toughest and most stringent mine safety laws in the world.
"In consultation with industry and unions, it is clear that we need inspectors who can reach all resources operations right across the state," he said.