This was the first application to the Supreme Court of Queensland for judicial review of powers to cancel a certificate of competency issued to an open-cut examiner for a coal mine, created under amendments to the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld) in 2018.
Here, the applicant’s certificate was cancelled following a fatal accident at the Middlemount Coal Mine in 2019.
Among other things, the applicant contended that his right to silence in a criminal prosecution, arising from the events, would be prejudiced by his being required to give evidence to challenge the underlying decision in the Industrial Magistrates Court. He submitted that such an outcome contravened his human rights (which led to the Attorney-General intervening in the proceeding).
Justice Dalton dismissed the application, finding that the Act made appropriate provision for a review of the decision elsewhere, namely by appeal to the the Industrial Magistrates Court (being a merits review by hearing de novo). Her Honour rejected a submission that there was a “public interest” in the decision being reviewed by the Supreme Court.
This case note by Matthew and Sophie outlines the implications of the case for the mining industry regarding cancelling certificates of competency under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999.