The new laws come in response to a spate of mining deaths in Queensland.
The new laws come in response to a spate of mining deaths in Queensland.

Laws passed to jail bosses over mine deaths

MINE executives face up to 20 years in jail if a worker dies because of their criminal negligence.

Tough new mine safety laws passed in Queensland Parliament today establish industrial manslaughter as an offence in mines and quarries.

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said they would protect the state's 50,000 mine and quarry workers.

"This offence sends the clear message to employers and senior officers that the safety and health of their workers is paramount," Mrs Gilbert said.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the spate of Queensland mine deaths in recent years was "not acceptable".

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"Safety on a mine site is everybody's responsibility," Dr Lynham said.

"But a safety culture needs to be modelled right from the top and creating the offence of industrial manslaughter is to ensure senior company officers do all they can to create a safe mine site."

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham. Picture: Daryl Wright
Mines Minister Anthony Lynham. Picture: Daryl Wright

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth described the move as a "great achievement".

The union has strongly advocated for the laws to be extended to the mining industry.

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

The new legislation brings the resources sector and its workers in line with every other workplace across the state - but with higher financial penalties.

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They also require people in critical statutory safety roles in coal mines to be mine operator employees - not contract workers.

The legislation also seeks to reduce the financial risk to the taxpayer of rehabilitating abandoned mine sites and removes unfair fees for electricity users in southeast Queensland.