Hundreds of people have gathered to honour the lives of more than 1470 mine workers at the18th Queensland Miners Memorial Day Service at the Jim Comer Ford Memorial Wall at Cessnock.
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said he was pleased to join families, mining industry and union representatives in Townsville for the service.
“Miners Memorial Day is a very special and important day on the mining industry calendar in Queensland,” he said in an Australian Government media release.
“For mine workers, families and friends, today is about gathering to remember those who have contributed so much to Queensland’s growth and prosperity.”
Every 19th of September, the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) holds a service for workers who lost their lives in accidents since the start of coal mining in Queensland in the 1800s.
The service commemorates the 75 miners lost in Queensland’s worst mining disaster at the Mount Mulligan coal mine on September 19, 1921as well as those lost in other mine accidents, including the most recent fatality at the Mount Moss iron ore mine in August of last year.
Coal mining is one of the most dangerous industries in the world, however Australian mines are among the safest. Unfortunately these improvements are often hard won and generally done so at casualties.
NSW Energy District Secretary Grahame Kelly said the day was due and vital recognition of past sacrifice and the continued need for workplace safety to be paramount for the industry.
“There is no doubt safety has improved but it also serves as a timely reminder that being vigilant about workplace safety is not something consigned to history, it’s an on-going responsibility for everyone,” she said.
Queensland has one of the safest mining industries in the world however according to Mr. Cripps, there was always room for improvement:
“We need to ensure we continue to review our procedures so we can best protect our mine workers from the hazards associated with the mining industry. As a result, we are delivering reforms to further enhance Queensland’s mine safety framework,” he said.
The service represents a partnership between government, industry and unions to the people who have lost their lives in disasters in both coal and metalliferous mines.