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MIM criticised over accident

BRISBANE — A young football hero who lost both legs in an underground mining accident was exposed to unacceptable risk by mining giant MIM, the Queensland Mining Warden's Court determined on November 15.

On January 20, trainee miner Brent North, of Tieri, near Rockhampton, had both legs amputated after they became entangled in a conveyor chain while he was working 300 metres underground at MIM's Oaky Creek No 1 mine.

The court found that North had been inadequately trained and supervised and that there had been no comprehensive risk assessment. Excessive wear on machinery had compounded the extent of the injuries and the duration of recovery operations.

Mining warden Frank Windridge also criticised mines and energy minister Tony McGrady for delaying the inquiry until six months after the accident.

North is suing MIM for negligence in the state Supreme Court.

Public servants gains award-based agreement

BRISBANE — Queensland public servants will get an extra $80 a week under a new deal struck with Peter Beattie's state government that reverses a decade-long trend toward enterprise bargaining.

The package, expected to be introduced from January 1, puts 40,000 state public sector workers under a single award-based agreement, delivering a 9% pay rise over three years.

Queensland's public sector union on November 19 welcomed the move as an end to the five-year-long process of enterprise bargaining, which had created a "fragmented and demoralised" public service.

Queensland Public Sector Union secretary Gordon Rennie said the offer, to be voted on by union members by December 17, was designed to ensure equal pay for equal work, regardless of an employee's department.

The National Party state opposition and employer groups blasted the plan as "pro-union".