Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: Matt Taylor.
Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: Matt Taylor.

Call to sack minister over horror mine safety record

BURDEKIN MP Dale Last says Mines Minister Anthony Lynham should "fall on his sword and resign" if he is unable to keep Queensland mine sites safe.

His call comes after a horror run of mine deaths and incidents over the past 21 months, including this week's shocking explosion at Grosvenor Mine, which left five workers with serious burns injuries.

The Opposition mines spokesman said Dr Lynham had also "categorically" ruled out calls for a parliamentary inquiry into mine safety, as serious safety concerns continued to plague the industry.

"Clearly there are still significant issues around safety at our mine sites and we need to get to the bottom of it," Mr Last said.

"If this minister is not up to the job of ensuring that our mine sites are safe for workers, then he should fall on his sword and resign.

"We are hearing that there were safety issues being reported at this mine site over the past month."

Yesterday, Dr Lynham said a board of inquiry into the Grosvenor Mine tragedy was on the table, with the possibility of further strengthening already rigid safety laws in the resources sector.

 

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham in Moranbah yesterday. Picture: Daryl Wright
Mines Minister Anthony Lynham in Moranbah yesterday. Picture: Daryl Wright

He said ongoing deaths and serious injuries were unacceptable.

"Queensland has the world's toughest mine safety and health laws," Dr Lynham said.

"This government has put in place sweeping reforms to toughen those laws, to boost the mines inspectorate and increase penalties.

"I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure our mine workers go home at the end of shift to (their) family and friends."

Responding to Mr Last's criticism this morning, he said his priority was "to get answers for our mine workers, for their families, their workmates and their communities - how did this happen, and how can it be prevented from happening again?"

"I am taking advice about establishing a board of inquiry, but in the interim the inspectors continue their independent investigation.

"The ongoing toll on our mine workers is totally unacceptable, and right now my energies are focussed on mine workers, not politics.

"My thoughts are with their families, friends and workmates."

Mr Last said the investigation into this week's explosion should be given the "highest priority" and any changes which come from it should be rolled out as soon as possible.

"Eight deaths in 21 months clearly shows we have a significant problem with safety in mines," the Burdekin MP said.

"What (Dr Lynham) is doing is not meeting the expectations of these communities and the workers."



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