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Justice for Miners


Dropped charges over fatality a blow to justice

December 6, 2023

The Mining and Energy Union has condemned the decision by prosecutors yesterday to drop charges against senior managers after Queensland coal mineworker Brad Duxbury was crushed to death and another mineworker seriously injured at Carborough Downs mine in 2019. 

MEU Queensland President Mitch Hughes said it was welcome that mine operator Carborough Downs Coal would be sentenced; but that individual managers failing to uphold safety standards must also be held to account. 

“Unfortunately we’ve had a cosy deal between the prosecutor and the managers at Carborough Downs mine who had been charged with failing to uphold health and safety obligations over the death of Brad Duxbury and injury of Cameron Best. 

“As a result, these individuals have been let off the hook. But it’s individuals who make the decisions that lead to the death and serious injury of mineworkers. 

“How can mineworkers have confidence in the system that is meant to protect them when they see their workmates killed and injured without consequence.” 

Charges against four Carborough Downs mine managers were dropped during a hearing in the Mackay Industrial Magistrates Court yesterday, with the mine operator to be sentenced in April 2024 after pleading guilty. 

Meanwhile, the MEU today wrote to the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor calling for charges to be laid over a High Potential Incident at Crinum underground mine in December 2022, where computer systems controlling safety measures such as ventilation and gas monitoring systems were turned off while workers were underground. 

The MEU is recommended charges against three employees involved in turning off the systems without authorisation for breaching the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act which states workers or any person at a mine has an obligation “not to anything wilfully or recklessly that might adversely affect the safety and health of someone else at the mine.” 

Mr Hughes said the MEU would continue to pursue justice for killed and injured workers. 

“Grieving families and communities have heard too many times that charges have been dropped, or cases are held up for years on end. 

“Our Justice for Miners campaign is about making sure the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor and Resources Safety and Health Queensland are held to account for pursuing successful prosecutions.”

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