Roche on the key issues

QUEENSLAND Resources Council CEO Michael Roche aims to discuss the Galilee Basin and fly-in, fly-out issues with the new state government and also wants a coal industry-wide review of safety following the recent tyre explosion fatality at the Dawson mine.
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Queensland Resources Council CEO Michael Roche.

Blair Price

At a press conference outside Parliament House on Tuesday, Roche said he was sick and tired of hearing about fatalities involving tyre explosions.

“I have been in this job 10 years,” he said.

“The first such experience was in 2006. I just can’t believe that it continues to happen.”

Roche addressed the “spike” in coal industry fatalities.

Since the start of 2014 there have also been two lives lost from the Grasstree longwall mine across separate accidents and a triple fatality vehicle crash that killed three workers from an Aurizon coal train crew.

“No-one can be happy about that,” Roche said.

“I have contacted top companies today to say I want to bring them together in the very near future to talk about safety in our industry to make sure we learn the lessons of what has happened with some of these recent fatalities and to take stock of the industry safety performance more generally.”

While the Labor government was elected on a mandate to not financially support Adani’s Galilee Basin-linking rail plans, Roche said he would discuss some of the options.

“They don’t have to be at budget cost,” he said.

“But I think some of the language from some of the ministers is already turning to a much more positive note around support for the Galilee Basin.

“We’ve got to remember that these are projects that were well underway under the previous Labor government.”

The Labor party also promised to reject any new mines that would be 100% reliant on a FIFO workforce and has since decided to review the FIFO-centred Daunia and Caval Ridge mines operated by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance.

“When it comes to FIFO neither side of politics said they supported 100% fly-in, fly-out operations and quite frankly 100% FIFO is a furphy,” Roche said.

“Even at the two mines in the Bowen Basin that are supposedly 100% FIFO – there are 200 locals working at those mines.”

Roche said he had spoken to Treasurer Curtis Pitt on the FIFO issue.

The QRC CEO said he was confident that retrospective changes to the approvals for the two mines could be avoided on this matter.

“What I have heard from the government is they want to see more opportunities for locals and I’m sure we can deliver,” Roche said.