Ombudsman David Bevan’s self-initiated review of the Queensland Mines Inspectorate (QMI) has raised serious questions over the state government’s budget decision to transfer its funding to industry, according to Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche.
Roche said that among a number of important findings by Bevan was a lack of substance to perceptions that the previously government-funded inspectorate was being ‘inappropriately influenced by industry’.
“One has to wonder why, after being handed a clean bill of health for this model in March, that the government decided to ignore this and declare, without any consultation, that the QMI should be paid for by industry,” he said.
“It’s a cornerstone of public policy that an effective industry regulator must not only be impartial but also be seen to be impartial.
“Try as we might to counter them, baseless perceptions of industry influence are only going to take root with the inspectorate funding becoming the direct responsibility of industry.”
Roche said the Ombudsman’s recommendations surrounding the gathering and timely reporting of relevant health and safety data by QMI reflected submissions made to the state government by the QRC in 2007.
“Queensland has one of the best mine safety and health records in the world, but no-one in industry is content with a status quo that accepts any level of harm to employees,” Roche said.