Friday, March 3, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
The Mining and Energy Union (MEU) has voiced the frustration of Queensland mineworkers over the lack of consequences faced by coal companies and senior executives after fatal and serious workplace accidents. The union is calling on the Queensland Government to take action in prosecuting those responsible for these incidents.
MEU launched a campaign last week, urging mineworkers and community members to write to the Minister for Resources and the Minister for Industrial Relations, asking for justice for their fallen colleagues.
"I am tired of trying to explain to the families of our lost members why nobody has been held accountable," says Stephen Smyth, MEU Queensland District President. He adds that grieving families and communities have heard repeatedly that charges are not filed, dropped, or held up indefinitely.
Mr Smyth cites several recent incidents, such as the Grosvenor Mine explosion that burned five miners in 2020, and the deaths of David Routledge, Brad Duxbury, and Graham Dawson, where no one has been held accountable despite findings of wrongdoing.
"It's time for the Queensland Government to take the prosecution of companies seriously whose workers die on the job, as everyone deserves to return home safely from work," says Mr Smyth. He adds that the guidelines for prosecution need to be reviewed, taking into account the need for justice for miners, their families, and communities.
Katrina and Leesh, the daughters of Graham Dawson, who lost his life in a collapsing roof incident at Crinum Mine, are also supporting the Justice for Miners campaign.
They say, "Our father lost his life while working underground. For families like ours, the aftermath of a workplace tragedy weighs on us every day. We support this campaign and urge the government to hold mining companies accountable for death and injury that occur under their watch."
MEU Queensland District President Stephen Smyth with Leesh Dawson, whose father Graham Dawson was crushed by a collapsing roof at Crinum Mine in 2021