Mining expert retains salary

11-07-2018 by admin

Tasmania’s principal mining inspector hassigned a five-year contract extension, understood to be athis existing pay rate,four months after a government agency proposed a significant cut to his salary.

Principal Mining Inspector Andrew Tunstall and his wife Rebecca at a MMG function celebrating 80 years of the Rosebery Mine, in February 2016. Picture: Katrina Docking

It’s understood the inspector, Alan Tunstall, signed the extension at his current pay grade after Mining Minister Adam Brooks requestedstaffing and salaries at the Mining Inspectorate be maintained at the current level until a scheduled audit had been conducted.

The audit of the inspectorate is expected to commence shortly.

In February, Treasurer Peter Gutwein confirmed Mr Tunstall’s positionwould be reclassified from Senior Executive Service level four toSES level one,a drop in salary of almost $100,000.

At the time, agovernment spokesman said the position had been incorrectly paid at the higher leveldue to a historical anomaly.

The move was criticised by Opposition Leader Bryan Green, and described as “short-sighted” bymine safety expert Professor Michael Quinlan.

In an emailsent to Justice Department Secretary Simon Overland on January 26,Mr Tunstall said he did not accept the role should be classed atSES level one.

“I am now being forced to consider other options in the interests of my family, which could lead to the mines inspectorate losing a considerable amount of knowledge and experience,” Mr Tunstall’semail, obtained by Fairfax Tasmania,said.

“It could also lead to criticism of the government, given that it is directly contrary to the recommendations of Professor Michael Quinlan’s three audits of the mines inspectorate.”

Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council chief executive officerWayne Bould and Australian Workers Union state branch secretary Ian Wakefield welcomed Mr Tunstall’s contract extension.

“He’s highly qualified and regarded and hasprovided very good service to the industry andthe government,” Mr Bould said.

Mr Wakefield said he had been concernedthe government would struggle to find a suitably qualified candidate at the SES level one pay rate,between $118,000 and $136,000.

“It’s a common sense decision that gives the industry some certainty going forward,” Mr Wakefield said.

“[Mr Tunstall] is a very highly qualified mining inspector and it would be a shame to lose someone with that experience and knowledge.”

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