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A new training facility designed for intricate mine rescue challenges has officially opened in the Central Highlands of Queensland.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the new Queensland Mines Rescue Service (QMRS) station at Stewarton would ensure safety in the resources industry was at the front of everyone’s mind.

“The most important thing to come off any Queensland resource site isn’t the coal or minerals – it’s the workers,” he said.

“QMRS’ work in risk management and as first responders is second to none, which is why opening this new training facility today is so important.

“It is the first new mines rescue station to be constructed in Queensland in the last 40 years and will further our shared commitment to ensuring every worker returns home to their families at the end of every shift.”

Stewart said the 52-acre site on the Capricorn Highway, formerly occupied by Orica, will be integral to the resources industry in Central Queensland.

“This facility has it all – a vertical rope rescue training tower, simulated mine and four-story confined space training,” he said.

“Some people are describing this as the best training facility anywhere in the world, and I think they’re spot on.

“QMRS has been training rescue personnel to save lives since 1909, and now, their incredible work has been future-proofed to serve generations of miners to come.”

QMRS chief executive officer David Carey said the training centre was a “21st century facility for 21st century rescue challenges”.

“The Queensland coal industry has committed funding to develop this facility which will play a major part in providing for the safety of coal miners,” he said.

“Mines rescue teams train hard for actions that they hope never to use but for which they must be ready for every day of their working lives.

“The Mines Rescue Service has been a part of the Queensland industry since the very early days of mining in the state and is now positioned to continue that support into the future.”