Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, Parliament House, Brisbane. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, Parliament House, Brisbane. Photographer: Liam Kidston Liam Kidston

MINING TRAGEDY: LNP seeks Mackay MP's support for inquiry

OPPOSITION leader Deb Frecklington has called for a parliamentary inquiry to examine how six people have died in Queensland mines in the past 12 months.

In a letter to Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert, Ms Frecklington proposes a Parliamentary Select Committee also considers resourcing and operations of the mine safety inspectorate, including the inspectors in regional Queensland, and review the legislative framework to ensure it is the most effective in the world to protect mine workers.

She also wants the inquiry to examine why a Mining Safety Advisory Committee was "dissolved" because of a policy about gender representation and what impact that had on Queensland mine safety.

The LNP also wants the committee to hear stories of regional Queenslanders employed in the coal mining industry and their views about health and safety systems in Queensland.

It comes after two mine accidents on the weekend leading to growing community concern about safety at Queensland mines.

Central Queensland man Jack Gerdes, 27, was found entangled in an excavator access ladder at the Baralaba North Coal Mine in the early hours of Sunday.

He became the sixth fatality at mines and quarries across Queensland in 12 months.

Just hours later, a 57-year-old man was seriously injured after falling about 10m from a platform at Glencore's Collinsville Coal Mine.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said a mining advisory committee overseeing health and safety in the resources industry had failed to meet for four months because it could not meet its gender quota but it was not dissolved.

"Over the past 12 months Queensland has seen a disturbing and unacceptable spike in workplace fatalities occurring in our mines and quarries," Ms Frecklington wrote to Ms Gilbert.

"Not since 1997 has Queensland seen the scale of mining related deaths in this state.

"These deaths must not be in vain and Queenslanders must be able to learn serious lessons from these tragedies.

"Queensland miners and their communities deserve answers as to what is happening in our mines and what has gone wrong to cause these accidents.

"The Liberal National Party share the considerable concerns of many Queenslanders about mine safety and that is why it fully supports the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee into the effectiveness of the Queensland Government's mine safety regime.

"This is not about blame. This is about getting our mine safety policies right, so lives are saved.

"The inquiry needs to be public and we need to hear from every stakeholder, particularly industry, miners and their communities in regional Queensland.

"As a member representing areas with mining activities and/or including those workers who travel to work in mines I know mine safety is a major concern to you and your community."

"I look forward to working constructively with you and hope I can count on your support in delivering this parliamentary inquiry on behalf of all Queenslanders."



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