Mr Murdoch began his submissions alleging Mr Guilfoyle’s staffer had lodged the original complaint in Mackay Magistrates Court rather than the Industrial Magistrates Court.
The pair argued this meant the complaint was invalid because it was not brought into a court with the jurisdiction to hear the matter resulting in a contest of legislative interpretation between them and Work Health and Safety’s barrister Glen Rice.
BMA pay $300,000 plus costs to settle prosecution
BMA Coal Operations will pay $300,000 toward coal mine safety research in Queensland, following an out of court settlement in the Industrial Magistrates Court in Brisbane on 30 January 2008. The company also agreed to pay $236,000 to the Department of Mines and Energy for investigation and court costs
The company had been charged with neglecting its duty of care obligations under
Queensland’s Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 in relation to an incident at Goonyella Riverside mine west of Mackay on 28 July 2004. Maximum fines under the Act were $300,000.
The charges arose after two workers were injured by a large quantity of falling mud while trying to clear a build-up of mud from under the body of a large excavator. One man suffered a fracture to the lower lumbar area of his spine and a fracture to his right ankle while the other suffered a split spleen that had to be removed
Under the settlement terms the department will use the $300,000 solely for safety and health research, and for safety and health projects that will benefit the Queensland coal mining industry. The department has total discretion in identifying the appropriate research projects.
The site senior executive of Goonyella Riverside mine, Mr Ben Zietsman, will meet with the department’s Safety and Health Division to explain improvements made in operating procedures at the mine and any additional improvements which were identified in the Mines Inspectorate’s safety investigation report.
These improvements are essential to prevent any recurrence of such an incident at any mine. The payment is significant and signals the Queensland Government’s strong commitment to use the full force of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act to improve safety for all workers in our mining industry.
The full terms of the settlement are:
Brian Lyne v BM Alliance Coal Operations Pty Ltd (“BMA”) and Barend Zietsman
Terms of Settlement: 30 January 2008
- The parties to these prosecutions have agreed that the prosecutions will be discontinued on the terms set out below in clauses 2 – 7 and the parties submit to orders dismissing the complaints.
- The terms of this settlement are not confidential.
- BMA will pay to the Crown in Right of the State of Queensland represented by the Department of Mines and Energy (“the Department”) the sum of $300,000 within 30 days of the discontinuance of these prosecutions, such sum to be applied by the Chief Executive of the Department on behalf of the State of Queensland, in his absolute discretion for the purpose of carrying out safety and health research and safety and health projects with respect to the Queensland Coal Mining Industry.
- BMA will pay the sum of $236,000 to the Crown in Right of the State of Queensland represented by the Department within 30 days of the discontinuance of these prosecutions towards the expenses of investigating and prosecuting the prosecutions.
- The Site Senior Executive of the Goonyella Riverside Mine, Mr Barend Zietsman will meet with the Executive Director of the Department’s Safety and Health unit, Mr Stewart Bell, and the Chief Inspector of Coal Mines, Mr Gavin Taylor, at the offices of the Department in Brisbane on a date to be agreed to explain improvements made or to be made in operating procedures at the mine to manage the recurrence of the factors underlying the incident the subject of the prosecutions, as identified in the Department’s safety investigation report.
- The defendants will withdraw all requests and reviews under the Freedom of Information Act 1992 in relation to all matters the subject of the prosecutions.
- The terms set out in clauses 3 – 5 will be read into the record of the Court hearing these prosecutions by Counsel for the complainant.
Chief Inspector of Coal Mines