A new body to regulate the health and safety of Queensland miners is expected to get the tick of approval by state parliament this week.
The Liberal National Party will clear the way for the Labor state government’s plan to create an independent body to oversee the resources sector.
It also has the backing of Katter’s Australian Party, and comes after eight people died while working on Queensland mines and quarries over the past two years.
That is more than any other state.
“Having more regulators and more mine site supervisors out there on the ground checking up on exactly what is going on in the mine sites will go a long way to helping people work in a safer environment,” KAP’s Nick Dametto told parliament.
“It is all about changing the culture. When legislation like this is being passed, it does transpire on to mine sites where supervisors, superintendents and SSEs will stand up and say, ‘Now we’re being forced to do this’.”
Government lawmakers say it is clear something in the industry needs to change.
“We need to have checks and balances in place to ensure every person involved in the mining industry is playing their part in a safe working environment for all,” Labor MP Julieanne Gilbert said.
The law would establish an independent office, which would be pulled out from the Mines Department, and an independent commissioner to give strategic advice to the minister.
The definition of a serious offence would be broadened to take in a person’s failure in their obligation to make sure everyone gets home safely if it results in death, injury or exposure.
Those offences would be prosecuted by Workplace Health and Safety, while lesser offences would be prosecuted by the regulator’s chief executive.
The Liberal National Party’s Dale Last says the move is a step forward.
Extending an industrial manslaughter law to cover the mining industry will be debated and voted on later this year.