The Queensland Government and resources industry will stage urgent discussions about the mining sector’s safety performance in light of four tragedies in the past six months.
Queensland’s Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Anthony Lynham plans to meet with industry representatives, including the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), union groups CFMEU and Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) and his department “as a matter of urgency” this week.
There have been six mining and quarry worker deaths in the past 12 months.
The crisis talks will take place after a contractor died at the Baralaba North coal mine in the Bowen Basin over the weekend.
This incident was followed by a critical injury to a Glencore worker at the Collinsville coal mine six hours later. Last month, a worker also died at the Middlemount coal mine.
It is “becoming increasingly clear” that there is a safety crisis in the Queensland mining industry, according to CFMEU.
“That is why we are calling for all Queensland coal mines to stop production for a minimum of 24 hours as a show of respect, and for serious reflections to occur,” the CFMEU stated.
“A suspension of production would be opportunity for the state government, mining companies and workers to reset the industry’s safety culture and practices.”
Lynham said he would be making it absolutely clear that this situation was unacceptable and required action.
“I will make further announcements on what action will be taken by this government after I have considered all the relevant information and outcomes from the meeting,” Lynham said.
The resources sector has made constant improvements in its safety record over the last 20 years, but it “cannot become complacent,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane added.
He said: “Industry is working on measures for a safety reset to refocus on safety in light of the recent tragedies.”