A move to delay health and safety reforms in Queensland mines has been rejected in parliament.
The Liberal National Party of Queensland (LNP) proposed a three-month parliamentary inquiry into mine safety.
Queensland Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the inquiry would divert attention, commitment, time, and resources from improving mine worker safety.
“Now is not the time for talk. It is the time for action,” Lynham said.
Queensland’s steps towards improving safety are in response to the deaths of six mine and quarry workers in the past 12 months.
The safety commitments made by government, industry peak bodies, unions and companies include a safety reset, with every Queensland miner required to participate in a safety briefing focussed on workplace risks by the end of August.
Queensland’s commitments also include sanctions for reckless behaviour and legislative reforms, an additional $1.68 million for more inspectors, and another chief inspector of mines.
Over the past five weeks, more than 23,000 workers, unions, and management reps have participated in 550 safety resets at 162 mines and quarries across Queensland. This represents almost half of the state’s mine and quarry workforce.
Two independent reviews regarding mining and quarrying safety are due before the end of the year.
“I would like to acknowledge the joint effort by the mining and quarrying industry’s peak bodies, the unions and the individual companies in activating the reset,” Lynham said.
“Government has acted, for workers, and their families, while all that the LNP has offered is yet another inquiry.”