In response to my post More on emergency lights on NSW vehicles (July 4, 2017) a commentator wrote:

Can you please explain how the above effects Queensland; in particular, mines rescue vehicles (owned and operated by the mine). If a mines rescue member had the right training, & the qualification: ‘drive under operational conditions’, would this person be able to respond to, let’s say, a mutual aid emergency call from another mine site on public roads?

In addition, does it make any difference if the emergency lights have clear covers, so when the light is not activated it is impossible to determine the colour?

The answer is again found in the vehicle standards as they are applied in Queensland.  These are found in schedule 1 to the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Vehicle Standards and Safety) Regulation 2010 (Qld).  Relevantly, clause 99 says:

99. Other lights and reflectors

(1) …

(a) an exempt vehicle may be fitted with any light or reflector; and

(b) a special use vehicle may be fitted with 1 or more flashing yellow lights.

(2) A vehicle, other than a police vehicle, must not be fitted with a blue light except with the written permission of the commissioner…

(4) A vehicle, other than an exempt vehicle or a special use vehicle, must not be fitted with a light that flashes.

(6) In this section—

exempt vehicle means any of the following vehicles—

(a) a police vehicle;

(b) an emergency vehicle;

(c) a transport enforcement vehicle;

(d) an Australian Border Force vehicle;

(e) an Airservices Australia vehicle.

special use vehicle means any of the following vehicles—

(a) a vehicle built or fitted for use in hazardous situations on a road;

(b) an oversize light vehicle authorised to be driven on a road under a guideline or permit issued under part 3;

(c) a vehicle built or fitted to accompany—

(i) a vehicle mentioned in paragraph (b); or

(ii) a heavy vehicle that—

(A) is an oversize vehicle within the meaning of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland); and

(B) is being used on a road under a mass or dimension exemption within the meaning of that Law;

(d) a vehicle, whether or not a school bus, fitted with warning lights and warning signs under the Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Standard 2010, schedule 1, part 4, section 19 or 25(1).

I would infer that a mines rescue vehicle is not a ‘special use vehicle’ so any rights or exemptions can only apply if it’s an ‘exempt vehicle’.   The only relevant paragraph is cl 99(6)(b).  So a mines rescue vehicle can be fitted with ‘any light or reflector’ (other than a blue light) if it’s an ‘emergency vehicle’.  An emergency vehicle may also be fitted with a siren (cl 23).

So what’s an ‘emergency vehicle’ in Queensland?  According to the dictionary (ie Schedule 4 to the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Vehicle Standards and Safety) Regulation 2010 (Qld)):

emergency vehicle means a motor vehicle—

(a) fitted with—

(i) a repeater horn or siren; or

(ii) a flashing warning light; and

(b) driven by—

(i) an officer of the Queensland Ambulance Service or an ambulance service of another State in the course of the officer’s duty; or

(ii) an officer of the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service or a fire and rescue service of another State in the course of the officer’s duty; or

(iii) an officer or employee of another entity with the written permission of the commissioner in the course of the officer’s or employee’s duty.

That definition is somewhat circular as only an emergency vehicle can be fitted with a siren or warning light but an emergency vehicle is a vehicle fitted with those things.  Paragraph (a) distinguishes that a car without lights/sirens but operated by Queensland Fire and Rescue is not an emergency vehicle, but that doesn’t help us find an answer for today’s question.  For that we need to look at paragraph (b).   Subparagraphs (i) and (ii) don’t apply to a mines rescue brigade as Queensland Mines Rescue service is governed by the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld).   A member of a mines rescue unit is not, by virtue of that membership, ‘an officer of the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service or a fire and rescue service of another State’.  It follows that a mines rescue vehicle can only be fitted with lights and sirens to the extent that the mines rescue operator has ‘the written permission of the commissioner’ of police (see Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld), Sch 4, definition of ‘commissioner’).

Does the driver of a mines rescue vehicle get an exemption from the driving rules? For that we need to look at the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Road Rules) Regulation 2009 (Qld).  For the purpose of that regulation (and r 306 ‘Exemptions for drivers of emergency vehicles’) and emergency vehicle is defined (in Schedule 5) as:

 … a motor vehicle driven by a person who is—

(a) an emergency worker; and

(b) driving the vehicle in the course of performing duties as an emergency worker.

An emergency worker is:

(a) an officer of the Queensland Ambulance Service or an ambulance service of another State; or

(b) a fire officer under the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 or a fire and rescue service of another State; or

(c) an officer or employee of another entity with the written permission of the commissioner.

Again paragraphs (a) and (b) won’t apply to a mines rescue officer.  Accordingly a mines rescue operator is an emergency worker only to the extent that the Police Commissioner has said, in writing, that they are.

Conclusion

Let me return to the question:

Can you please explain how the above effects Queensland …

This question was in response to a post about NSW law.  The short answer is that the NSW law has no effect in Queensland.

… If a mines rescue member had the right training, & the qualification: ‘drive under operational conditions’, would this person be able to respond to, let’s say, a mutual aid emergency call from another mine site on public roads?

If and only if the Police commissioner has given written permission to the mines rescue operator to fit warning lights and/or siren to their vehicle and has said, in writing, that the employees of that mine rescue operator are ‘emergency workers’ for the purposes of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Road Rules) Regulation 2009 (Qld).

In addition, does it make any difference if the emergency lights have clear covers, so when the light is not activated it is impossible to determine the colour?

No, the prohibition in Queensland is on having flashing lights fitted to the vehicle, not the colour of them.