The role of the Mines Inspectorate in preventing incidents in Queensland mine and quarries has been called into question by LNP Shadow Minister for Mines and local MP for Burdekin Dale Last.
Almost 100 high methane alerts* in the four years prior to an explosion in May which seriously injured five miners, is deeply disturbing and poses more questions than answers.
“Our miners raised major concerns leading up to the incident last month but, it seems the Palaszczuk Government’s mines inspectorate did nothing to intervene,” said Mr Last.
“Allegations around the cosy relationship between certain inspectors and mine operators when it came to reporting safety issues should be ringing alarm bells.
“The LNP revealed last week more than a dozen safety directives or standards notices were issued over the two years prior to the methane explosion at the Grosvenor coal mine – but work at the mine was never forced to stop**.
“Over the last two years only one unannounced inspection was conducted at the mine and it happened one week after the mine was able to prepare for its pre-scheduled audit.
“This is despite the mine receiving two complaints about the mine safety standards and the CFMEU going public about the issues with controlling gas levels.
“It’s also worth noting that the number of infringements being issued in Queensland mines has now decreased in 2019-20 from the previous year, despite the terrible mine safety record***.
“The Inspectorate’s failure to monitor and regulate the operations at the Grosvenor mine was unacceptable.
“It is clear now that the terms of reference for the Minister’s Board of Inquiry need to be expanded to include the role of the Inspectorate and that public hearings should be a mandatory requirement.
“Workers, industry groups and the community all deserve to have their say in an open and transparent public hearing process.
“While the Palaszczuk Government continues to dither on mine safety in Queensland, eight lives have been lost in the past 2 years in our mine sites and quarries.”
*’Mining giant had 98 methane alerts before near-fatal blast’ by Sarah Elks https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/mining-giant-had-98-methane-alerts-before-nearfatal-blast/news-story/583090c759e80bf345968d2d9b655a2c
** Question on Notice No. 444: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/questionsAnswers/2020/444-2020.pdf
*** Question on Notice No. 428: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/questionsAnswers/2020/428-2020.pdf