LNP Shadow Mines Minister Dale Last. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
LNP Shadow Mines Minister Dale Last. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

‘Insulting’: Dale Last blasts mine safety review delay

A DELAY in the release of two independent reviews into mine safety has been labelled an "insult" by Shadow Mines Minister Dale Last.

In response to the tragic death of Donald Rabbitt, 33, at Curragh Coal Mine near Blackwater on Sunday, Acting Mines Minister Mark Ryan said the two independent reviews would be tabled in parliament, which was not due to sit again until next month.

However last year, Mines Minister Anthony Lynham confirmed the reviews were due back by the end of 2019.

The first report was expected to probe why mine and quarry workers have died over the past 20 years; how industry can improve and how the mines inspectorate can work better.

The second was to review the state's mining health and safety legislation.

Mr Last said the reports should be released as soon as possible to avoid further tragedy.

Goondiwindi man Donald Rabbitt was killed at Blackwater's Curragh mine on January 12, 2020.
Goondiwindi man Donald Rabbitt was killed at Blackwater's Curragh mine on January 12, 2020.

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"The sooner the reports are released, the sooner we can get to work and improve safety for workers," he said.

"Based on what the acting minister said, those reports are going to sit on the shelf gathering dust for three weeks when that time could be spent implementing measures that could, literally, save lives.

"Workers in the resources sector have every right to feel insulted by the delay."

Mr Ryan said the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy was already acting on the reports.

He said the state's two independent expert mining safety advisory committees would consider the reports in detail and were expected to provide recommendations for longer-term reforms by Easter.  

"The Minister made a commitment seven months ago to table the reports in the Parliament in the interests of full public transparency," Mr Ryan said.

"At the time, the LNP had nothing to say, just as they did nothing about mine worker safety and health during their disastrous three years in government."

Mr Rabbitt's death marked the first mining fatality for 2020 and the 18th in the Bowen Basin in the past 20 months.