Lynham leaves a legacy of important mine safety reforms

Published: 11 Sep 2020

Outgoing Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham will be remembered by coal miners for tackling the scourge of mine dust lung diseases which had been neglected by governments for decades, the Miners Union said today.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland President Stephen Smyth said he was disappointed to hear of Minister Lynham’s retirement from politics at the upcoming election.

“We have certainly had a robust relationship in the face of major issues in our industry like the re-emergence of Black Lung and a string of tragic fatalities,” said Mr Smyth.

“But Minister Lynham has always listened to the perspective of workers, treated workers’ concerns seriously and taken action to address them – often in the face of enormous pressure from mining companies.

“After the shocking re-emergence of Black Lung in our industry after 30 years, Queensland has introduced world-leading reforms for preventing, identifying and treating mine dust lung diseases.

“We now also have industrial manslaughter laws covering the mining industry, to make bosses more accountable for workers’ lives.

“There is much more work to do to clean up Queensland’s mining industry, prevent unacceptable injuries and fatalities and give mineworkers the safe workplaces they deserve.  

“But Dr Lynham’s leadership has made a real difference and we thank him for making sure mineworkers’ voices have been heard – including through the wide-ranging Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry which he established.

“We wish him all the best in his life after politics.”

Mr Smyth said the Union would urge all candidates in the upcoming election to commit to further mine safety reforms including independent medical assessment for mineworkers and independent dust monitoring for coal mines.