Mother of Joshua Ufer who lost his life at the Pike River Mine Disaster.
Mother of Joshua Ufer who lost his life at the Pike River Mine Disaster. Chris Ison

Grieving mother urges Qld Govt not to ignore mine safety

JOANNE Ufer wonders if there was one more watchdog looking over her son's mine site, would he would still be with her today?

The Rockhampton mother lost her son, Josh, in the tragic Pike River Mine Disaster in 2010.

Josh, 25, has been working in the mine for only six months before it collapsed, killing 29 workers.

Ever since the disaster Ms Ufer's voice in the mining safety debate has increased.

A former mine worker herself, Ms Ufer is calling on the State Government not to act on a proposal to scale back check inspectors' powers in Queensland mines.

The Queensland Resources Council has put forward a proposal to remove power from check inspectors to stop production if they believe there is a safety risk.

After meeting with Mines Minister Andrew Cripps in Brisbane on Thursday, Mrs Ufer said she did not want the mine industry standard to go backwards.

"(Check inspectors) are an extra set of eyes to make sure things are done properly," she said.

"To see them not have the power they have now would not be a good thing.

"We don't want to go backwards. We want to continue with our high safety and record."

Following a Royal Commission into the Pike River collapse, the New Zealand Government was told to look to Queensland for an insight into high-standard mine safety.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union district secretary Tim Whyte said check inspectors were "another avenue" for coal mine workers to voice concerns.

"The main value they bring is the coal mine workers won't stick their hand up to say this is wrong, right or indifferent," he said.

"It's another avenue for coal said the government was committed to upholding Queensland's mine safety system.

"As part of the national mine safety harmonisation process, the Minister has clearly stated he will not allow any diminution of mine safety and health standards as they apply to the Queensland resources sector," she said.

"The Newman Government is absolutely committed to upholding Queensland's internationally-recognised mine safety system, and a safety record that is the envy of many countries."



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