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Queensland mine safety boss appointed to Pike River disaster inquiry

The Queensland Government's senior mine safety expert has been appointed by New Zealand to serve on the royal commission into the Pike River coal mine tragedy.

Premier Anna Bligh said Mr Stewart Bell had today been appointed one of three royal commissioners by the New Zealand Governor-General following consultation between the New Zealand and Queensland governments.

"Stewart Bell is one of the world's leading mine safety and health experts and brings over 25 years of international experience to the role," she said.

"He is Queensland Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health as well as Deputy Director-General, Safety and Health Division, for the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.

"He also has vast experience in chemical, gas and dust problems in mines; and is an international expert in monitoring, controlling and the inertisation of mine fires.

Ms Bligh said it was appropriate Queensland would have a key role in helping to establish the causes of the 19 November 2010 mine accident.

"This terrible tragedy claimed the lives of 29 miners, including two Queenslanders Joshua Adam Ufer and William John Joynson.

"Queensland Government mine safety experts and equipment were at Pike River within 24 hours of the explosion and are still there helping New Zealand authorities with fire suppression and recovery efforts.

"Queensland has one of the safest mining industries in the world and is an international leader in mine safety technology and expertise.

"But as a large coal mining state we have as much interest in the lessons of this disaster as New Zealand does."

The New Zealand Government today announced the appointment of the three commissioners to the Pike River Royal Commission.

The Royal Commission will be chaired by Justice Graham Panckhurst, a sitting High Court judge.

Mr Stewart Bell will be joined as a commissioner by Mr David Henry, a former public servant who has been Chief Executive of the New Zealand Electoral Commission and an Inland Revenue Commissioner.

Joint Statement:
Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Anna Bligh
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Stephen Robertson
Queensland mine safety boss appointed to Pike River disaster inquiry

Permanent Link: Queensland mine safety boss appointed to Pike River disaster inquiry
Publish Date: 14 Dec 10

Queensland Government, Premier and Minister for Reconstruction :
PO Box 15185, City East QLD 4002, Brisbane
Phone: 07 3224 2111
Fax: 07 3229 2900

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