Minister admits miners have lost faith in mine department

THE Mining Minister has admitted coal miners have lost confidence in his department and the Mines Inspectorate.

Speaking at the budget estimates hearing at Parliament House in Brisbane Mining Minister Anthony Lynham said he agreed the government needed to regain the trust of workers.

Under questioning from shadow mining minister Andrew Cripps Dr Lynham said he had full faith in the department.

"Absolutely I have confidence in the Mines Department and Mines Inspectorate," Dr Lynham said.

"Coal workers have lost confidence in the department and inspectorate. There is no doubt about that."

Mr Cripps's questions came after Labor Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller on Tuesday said miners had lost confidence in the department.

Ms Miller also called for a royal commission into black lung - a proposal Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government did not support.

Dr Lynham said he agreed with that decision as he "didn't have time" to wait for a royal commission to make findings in order to tackle black lung.

"A royal commission may allocate blame and I understand that. I understand people calling for a royal commission.

"If you felt aggrieved, if you felt the system had let you down - which it has - then you'd be calling for a royal commission.

"But I already know who's to blame. Everybody has been responsible for coal workers pneumoconiosis."

Dr Lynham also told the hearing he hoped legislation to end 100% fly in, fly out workers could be introduced to Queensland parliament before the end of the year.

Responding to a question from Katter's Australian Party MP Shane Knuth, Dr Lynham said he had spoken to residents in Blackwater where people were leaving town.

"The devastation to that local community simply with the loss of their hairdresser ... is very, very significant," he said.

"These people want to see miners, workers, back in their community.

"What we want to see is that someone who lives in a resource town has the opportunity to apply and work in the resource near the town. That is just so important."

Two mines in the Isaac Plains region were built as 100% FIFO mines during the peak of the mining boom. - ARM NEWSDESK


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