Parliament backs govt on mine & quarry worker safety

Parliament tonight rejected an LNP move to delay action on health and safety reforms for the state’s 50,000 mine and quarry workers.

Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said Parliament voted down an LNP move to set up a three-month Parliamentary inquiry into mine safety.

“Now is not the time for talk. It is the time for action,” Dr Lynham told Parliament.

“A parliamentary inquiry would divert tripartite attention, commitment, time and resources from progressing immediate and important initiatives to improve mine worker safety.

“Every action the Opposition has detailed for their proposed inquiry is already underway.”

Dr Lynham has already updated Parliament earlier this week on reforms underway to strengthen safety culture in the resources sector following the death of six mine and quarry workers in the past 12 months.

Government, industry peak bodies, unions and companies have been working together since July on joint safety commitments.

They include a statewide safety reset, with every worker on every worksite to participate in a worksite safety reset session by the end of August.

The commitment also:

  • includes working together on reforms to strengthen safety culture in the resources sector. This includes sanctions for reckless behaviour and legislative reforms, such as the government’s proposal to actively consider the offence of “industrial manslaughter”.
  • an additional $1.68 million for more inspectors in this year’s budget
  • another chief inspector of mines.

Dr Lynham told Parliament tonight that over the past five weeks, more than 23,000 workers, union and management reps had taken part in 550 safety resets at 162 mines and quarries across the state.

“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,” he said.

“Two independent reviews are now underway into mining and quarrying safety.

“These reports are due for completion before the end of the year and we will act as we are doing now.

“Government has acted, for workers, and their families, while all that the LNP has offered is yet another inquiry.”

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