The Bligh Government has passed a law allowing for the introduction of a Mine Safety and Health Commissioner.
Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said the new position will help strengthen the safety and health of Queensland’s miners.
“Safety of our mine workers is paramount and that’s why we have accepted and are implementing all 44 recommendations of a report by the Queensland Ombudsman in June 2008 about the Queensland Mines Inspectorate,” Robertson said.
“This independent statutory position of Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health will reinforce the operational independence of the Queensland Mines Inspectorate.
The Commissioner will provide advice on mine safety and health issues; act as an advocate for mine safety; and provide a written report to Parliament on the performance of the Mines Inspectorate.
The Government will also implement another of the Ombudsman’s recommendations, to make it an offence to harass anyone who provides information about a safety concern.
“Individuals, whether they are mine workers or the public, must be able to report unsafe or illegal practices in our mining industry without fear of retribution or victimisation,” Robertson said.
“They should not be penalised for doing the right thing, especially when doing so can prevent serious injury or even the loss of a life.”