New industrial manslaughter laws for Queensland

Published: 20 May 2020

Expanded industrial manslaughter laws which were passed today by the Queensland Parliament will help save mineworkers lives.

The new laws will create a criminal offence where negligence contributes to the death of a mineworker; and bring mining into line with other industries where individual executives and managers face jail time.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland President Stephen Smyth today said a string of serious incidents in the mining sector over recent years showed that stronger penalties were needed to ensure mine operators provided a safe working environment for their employees.

“Where mineworkers die due to negligence, there should be consequences. These laws aren’t just about punishing the guilty. They’re about making people accountable for safety on their watch.

“Mine safety is a multi-dimensional issue and there is no silver bullet, but accountability for individuals in positions of authority is absolutely critical.

“The CFMEU has advocated strongly to extend industrial manslaughter laws to the mining industry, while the employers have fought hard against them. It is a great achievement to have new laws in place to value and protect the safety of Queensland mineworkers.”

The new laws also require statutory positions in mines to be employed by mining companies, rather than employed as contractors.

“The critical roles of Deputy and Open Cut Examiner must be directly employed and focus on safety, rather than production. This is an important element of the new laws and we are pleased it was retained despite intense industry opposition, but disappointed it won’t be enforced for 18 months,” said Mr Smyth.