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Matthew Gill, the public face of the Beaconsfield mine rescue, to talk safety in Rockhampton

The man who became the public face of the Beaconsfield mine rescue where Todd Russell and Brant Webb were trapped underground for a fortnight and Larry Knight was killed will speak at a Safe Work Australia Week event in Rockhampton tomorrow (30 October).

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Executive Director, Dr Simon Blackwood, said Safe Work Safe Australia Week was a powerful reminder that we all need to be fully committed to safety at work, 365-days a year, 24 hours a day.

“Each year in Queensland around 100 people are killed as a result of work-related accidents and disease and almost 30,000 families are directly affected by a loved one who is seriously injured at work,” he said.

Dr Blackwood said former Beaconsfield Gold mine manager, Matthew Gill, has first-hand knowledge of the impact of workplace incidents on workers and on their families and friends.

“Matthew Gill who was the public face of the Beaconsfield mine rescue will speak about how he immediately took control of the emergency and then implemented rescue operations for the three missing miners,” he said.

“Mr Gill maintained an unwavering commitment to the safety of the people conducting the rescue and to the trapped miners.

“He oversaw the rescue teams which battled 24 hours a day for 14 days to release the two miners trapped almost 1km underground. Mr Gill will relive the emotional story of finding Larry Knight’s body and having to talk to his family afterwards.

“Previously he has been involved with mine rescue at rock falls at Mt Lyell in Tasmania and in Papua New Guinea, but Beaconsfield was the first time that he had such ‘hands on’ involvement.”

The Leading CQ Towards Zero Harm event includes a day long seminar and trade show, culminating in a black tie dinner, at the Rockhampton Show Grounds at which Mr Gill will be the guest speaker. Rockhampton mayor Brad Carter and WorkCover Queensland CEO Tony Hawkins will be guest speakers at the seminar.

The event is a joint initiative of the Rockhampton Regional Council, the Stanwell Corporation Ltd and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, part of the Department of Justice and Attorney General.

Zero Harm at Work is a groundbreaking new Workplace Health and Safety Queensland program that aims to build a positive safety culture in Queensland workplaces to help reduce the number and severity of workplace health and safety incidents. Zero harm means no harm to anyone, any time while at work.

Safe Work Australia Week, now in its fifth year, is a national week which focuses attention on workplace safety issues. It aims to encourage all working Australians to get involved in, and concentrate on, safety in their workplace to reduce death, injury and disease. The week comes to a close on Saturday 31 October.

To find out more about the event and Safe Work Australia Week visit or call the Workplace Health and Safety Infoline on 1300 369 915.

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The Communication Services Branch handles media inquiries relating to:

  • the justice system, including courts and public prosecutions
  • community justice services, including: the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages; Justices of the Peace; Victim Assist Queensland; and the Dispute Resolution Branch
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  • Industrial relations.

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Last reviewed
1 February 2010
Last updated
5 November 2015
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