Fourth Queensland fatality in 2019 provokes calls for mining industry reset

Australia’s main heavy industries trade union has called for a temporary stoppage of production at all Queensland mines after a fourth fatality in just six months occurred at a mine site on Sunday.

A 27-year old man suffered fatal head injuries at the Baralaba North coal mine, West of Gladstone in Queensland. The death brings the fatality total in Australia to six over the last year – making it the worst year for mining deaths since 1997.

In the wake of the incident, the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) Queensland mining and energy president Steve Smyth called for the mining industry to be shut down for at least 24 hours.

“These coal companies have got to stop production. There’s got to be a reset, there’s got to be a stopping of production, a sitting down with the workers and working through what is actually going on at each and every one of their mine sites,” he said.

“We need to be stopping the industry, the industry needs a reset and [then to] get back on with business but be empowering their workers to stand up and speak out.”

On Monday, the State Government held crisis talks with key mining sector stakeholders, including the mining union and the Queensland Resources Council.