The Queensland Government has boosted the ranks of the state’s mine and quarry inspectors to 46 with four new recruits.
The four inspectors come with a combined 122 years of experience in mining between them and mining engineer credentials.
They are due to begin in their roles within the coming fortnight, with two starting in Rockhampton on January 20 and February 3, and one at Mackay and Mt Isa that are both starting on February 3.
Queensland’s Acting Mines Minister Mark Ryan said two out of three of the government’s inspectors were placed in regional Queensland because this was where most of the state’s mines were located.
“The safety and health of our 70,000 resource workers is paramount and our mine inspectors need to be close to where the mines are,” Ryan said.
“Our resources industry is world-class and demands strong, contemporary skills from our inspectors to work with industry and workers to enhance safety.
“Having most of our inspectors in regions gives workers and the industry more efficient access to our inspectors and more inspectors to keep our mine and quarry works safe.”
Ryan said this system was critical to the government’s health and safety reforms.
These reforms include better prevention and detection of black lung, increased maximum penalties and powers for regulators to issue fines without going to court, reset sessions to refocus on health and safety and tighter controls on mine dust levels.
The Queensland Government has also committed $35 million to deliver reforms to improve mine and quarry workers’ health and safety and is looking to introduce new legislation in parliament.
There is already legislation put before parliament to establish an independent resources health and safety authority as well as plans to make industrial manslaughter an offence.
Further potential reforms from two independent reviews will be tabled in the first sitting of parliament this year in February.