Qld parliament debates mine regulator

Sonia Kohlbacher

A new body to oversee the health and safety of Queensland miners won't bring back the eight people who died at work in the past two years.

But it is a step towards ensuring others return home at the end of each day, the Liberal National Party's Dale Last told state parliament on Tuesday.

"We find the government's refusal to fully inquire into the causes of accidents, injuries and deaths in the resource sector a matter of great concern," he said.

"We want to get to the bottom of it."

The LNP will not stand in the way of the Labor state government's plan to introduce an independent health and safety regulator for the resources sector.

It is expected to pass state parliament this week, and follows the deaths of eight people in mines and quarries across Queensland in the past two years.

That's more than in any other state.

One of those people was Jack Gerdes, who died at the Baralaba North coal mine after being caught between an excavator and safety stairs.

Mr Last told parliament on Tuesday that the 27-year-old's father Brian had told him issues around mine safety were a virus being fed by greed.

"There are eight families who want answers," Mr Last said.

"Who want to change the conditions on mine sites.

"These eight deaths and all that fell before have caused heartache that will remain with us for the rest of our lives."

The resources sector provides one in eight jobs in Queensland.

Labor backbencher Chris Whiting said it was clear that something in the industry needs to change.

The government's bill would pull a regulatory body out from under the Natural Resources and Mines Department.

"It will be an independent office and it will take independent action," he told parliament.

It will expand the definition of serious offences to take in when a person's failure in their obligation to make sure everyone gets home safely results in death, injury or exposure.

That would be prosecuted by the Workplace Health and Safety prosecutor, while lesser offences would be prosecuted by the regulator's chief executive.

Extending an industrial manslaughter law to cover the mining industry will come later this year.