Queensland takes action following pneumoconiosis resurgence

The Queensland Government will set up an independent safety and health regulator statutory body following parliamentary recommendations into coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.

Queensland’s Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the re-identification of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and the six mining and quarrying fatalities highlighted the importance of a transparent, independent safety and health body.

The bill’s introduction comes just weeks after a commitment by all mining and quarrying companies to improve safety culture, including reset sessions on all worksites state-wide.

The new body, Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ), will include Queensland’s mines, explosives and petroleum and gas inspectors, the Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station at Redbank and the coal mine workers’ health scheme that covers mine dust lung diseases.

“Queenslanders want to see a strong regulator, fully independent and at arms-length from the industry it is regulating,” he said.

“That’s what the new RSHQ will deliver, with a sole focus on the safety and health of our resources industries’ workers.”

A levy on resources companies will fund the Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ).

The body will be subject to monitor and review by a separate, independent commissioner for mining and quarrying, petroleum and gas, and explosives.

RSHQ will include mining inspectors as well as remove existing safety and health functions within the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.

“This separates the job of protecting the workers from the job of growing and facilitating mining and exploration projects and the resources as a whole,” Lynham said.

“This is yet another in the suite of reforms the Palaszczuk Government has put in place over the past five years to protect the safety and health of our resources sector workers.”