Tony Abbott has been criticised for suggesting changes to mining regulations.
Tony Abbott has been criticised for suggesting changes to mining regulations. Rob Wright

Union fears mining changes would lead to safety threat

A NATIONAL union has criticised the Federal Opposition's plan to cut mining regulation, warning it could erode safety protocols in an industry considered among the safest in the world.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott this week announced a plan aimed at boosting Australia's productivity by "cutting red and green tape".

Mr Abbott told an event on Monday how a Queensland resources project required 4000 meetings and a 12,000-page environmental report to be approved.

"We can deregulate; we can save business money," Mr Abbott said. "We can boost our national prosperity through the policy that we announce today."

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union believes the knock-on effect from slashing regulation would lead to companies wanting to change safety rules.

Union mining secretary Andrew Vickers pointed to the paltry $5000 compensation expected for the families of those killed in the New Zealand Pike River Mine disaster.

Mr Vickers said the royal commission into the incident called for site check inspectors to be reintroduced after the industry succeeded in de-regulating parts of the sector.

There has, so far, been no mention of the Federal Opposition considering a change to safety regulation. The Opposition has been sought for comment.



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