Mine safety laws under review

THE State Government will review the Coal Mine Safety and Health Act following a Supreme Court ruling last week which revealed a deficiency in the law.

A mines spokesman for DEEDI said mine safety remained a high priority and the state had "some of the most stringent mine safety legislation in the world".

"The Queensland Government is currently reviewing the implications of this Supreme Court decision, and it would be premature to speculate on any legislative changes at this stage," the spokesman said.

"Safety is everyone's responsibility, mine by mine, worker by worker, and we'll continue working with all parties to ensure Queensland's mining safety standards continue to be world class."

Supreme Court Justice Glenn Martin rejected both BHP and the CFMEU's claim they had the right to elect safety and health representatives at coal mines.

He referred the legislation back to the State Government.

The CFMEU argued it was the representative body for mine workers and therefore held the right to hold the elections at Gregory mine.

"(The Act) fails to prescribe any method for conducting an election or any guidance as to who might call or conduct an election for (Site Safety and Health Representatives)," Justice Martin said.

He also rejected BMA's submission Gregory Mine's senior executive should be responsible for the elections.

"It is not a function of the (site senior executive) to cause an election to be held or to conduct an election or to make arrangements for a third party to conduct an election," Justice Martin said.

"This is a circumstance, fortunately rare, in which the deficiency in the legislation is one which cannot be cured by any acceptable means of construction.

"It should be left to parliament to remedy the deficiency."

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