Gender quota halts mine safety committee

AFTER a spate of mining deaths in Queensland, Mines Minister Anthony Lynham has revealed committee set up to oversee health and safety in the state's resources industry hasn't operated since March because it didn't meet its gender ­requirements.

The startling revelation comes as the State Government responded to growing community concern after six fatalities at mines and quarries across the state during the past 12 months.

Just hours later, a 57-year-old man was seriously injured after falling about 10m from a platform at Glencore's Collinsville Coal Mine - about 80km west of Proserpine.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham. Picture: Annette Dew
Mines Minister Anthony Lynham. Picture: Annette Dew

On Monday, Mines Minister Anthony Lynham revealed that the Mining Safety and Health Advisory Committee hadn't operated since March because it didn't meet its ­gender ­requirements.

When asked about the committee, which is required to advise the minister on the safety and health of mine and quarry employees, Mr Lynham said "certain representation" had to be made.

" … Have to make sure ­gender representation is respected," he said.

"Because of the significance of the appointments that has been difficult."

The committee is expected to reconvene this week.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane (pictured right) said that his ­organisation had supplied nominations for the committee, including two women, six months ago.

"I'm not sure why that committee hasn't been operating," he said.

However, the CFMEU's Stephen Smyth said that the two women who were ­nominated did not have the ­required "competencies".

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: Tara Croser
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: Tara Croser

Leader Deb Frecklington said she would move for an independent Parliamentary Select Committee to investigate mining safety following the deaths.

"This committee needs to be set up as soon as possible," she said.

"One death is way too many, but to have four in six months means action needs to be taken."

Mr Lynham, Mr Smyth, Mr Macfarlane and AWU organiser Mark Raguse met for a crisis meeting last night.

During the meeting, it was determined the current review being undertaken by ­forensic structural engineer Dr Sean Brady be expanded while the University of Queensland reviews the state's mining health and safety legislation

Ian Macfarlane from the Queensland Resources Council with Stephen Smyth from the CFMEU. Picture: AAP/Steve Pohlner
Ian Macfarlane from the Queensland Resources Council with Stephen Smyth from the CFMEU. Picture: AAP/Steve Pohlner


A safety forum will also be held tomorrow in ­Brisbane between relevant stakeholders. Mr Smyth said that last night's meeting had been very productive.

"I think they (reviews) are a good start," he said.

Mr Smyth, who had earlier in the day called for an inquiry into industry safety and for all coal mines to shut down for 24 hours, said the union still believed a "reset" at work sites was required.

"But we think Wednesday … should give some fruitful outcomes," he said.

The state announced ­yesterday it will broaden its review into coal mine deaths to include fatal incidents at ­mineral mines and quarries since 2000.

Dr Lynham last night said both reviews received full support at the meeting and would be completed by the end of the year.




December 31, 2018: Allan Houston is fatally injured when his bulldozer overturns at BMA's Saraji Open Cut Coal Mine near Moranbah.

November 15, 2018: Worker fatally injured at a quarry, entangled in conveyor belt at a site off the Peak Downs Highway at Wolfang, near Clermont.

July 29, 2018: The operator of an articulated dump truck dies after crash at quarry near Collinsville.

August 5, 2017: Daniel Springer - a contractor with independent Mining Services at BMA's Goonyella Riverside Mine - fatally injured repairing a large excavator bucket.

August 30, 2016: Ian Hansen fatally injured at Glencore's Newlands Mine Coal Handling and Preparation Plant.

March 12, 2015: Laurie Donovan dies after a vehicle rolled at BMA's Blackwater Mine.

February 16, 2015: Stephen Cave dies when a tyre on a large mining truck explodes at Anglo American's Dawson Coal Mine southeast of Moura.

December 11, 2014: Ian Downes is crushed to death when a wall collapsed at Anglo American's underground Grasstree Coal Mine near Middlemount.

May 6, 2014: Paul McGuire is asphyxiated by a noxious atmosphere in Anglo Grasstree
Coal Mine.

June 5, 2012: Sean Scovell dies after becoming trapped in a conveyor belt at Moranbah South Quarry, operated by MCG Quarries.

December 18, 2010: Wayne McDonald dies after a tyre catastrophically fails causing an explosion at Foxleigh Open Cut Coal Mine near Middlemount.

June 20, 2009: John Barker dies when the ute he is driving collides with a piece of heavy machinery at BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance's Open Cut Blackwater Mine.


Information taken from the independent Mine Accident Database website and Queensland Government's Business Queensland site.