Former Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller comforts Kevin Haywood at the memorial service to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Box Flat Mine disaster last year. Kevin's brother Andy was killed in the disaster.
Former Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller comforts Kevin Haywood at the memorial service to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Box Flat Mine disaster last year. Kevin's brother Andy was killed in the disaster.

Disaster will send ripple of hurt through mining communities

A FORMER Ipswich miner and long-time union official said the explosion which critically injured five miners in central Queensland this week would send out a ripple of hurt closer to home.

Andrew Vickers, who retired as national general secretary of the mining and energy division of the CFMEU in 2017, said the impact of the disaster in Moranbah would be felt in Ipswich.

Mr Vickers spent 10 years working in the small coal mining town before returning home.

"It worries the hell out of people that such a thing can happen in this day and age," he said.

"We've had a terrible run of incidents in the mining industry generally, but the black coal mining industry in particular, in Queensland over the last couple of years.

"There is simply no excuse for a build up of gas like that. There is simply no excuse for a source of ignition.

"There needs to be an urgent and independent inquiry. People need to be held to account."

Eight mine workers have died in Queensland in the past two years.

He said an incident like this bring back memories of disasters like the local Box Flat explosion, which claimed the lives of 17 men in 1972.

'This will rock through, not just an old mining town like Ipswich, but every mining community in Queensland and indeed throughout Australia," he said.

"A lot of old retired mine workers, including people like myself, will be shocked, terrified and angry that such a thing can occur.

"They'll think about the near misses they've had in their time in the industry (and) the mates they've lost."

Former Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller, herself the daughter of a coal miner, said her "soul is seething" after the explosion.

"My heart is with the coal miners and their families who have suffered horrific injuries at the Grosvenor underground mine in Moranbah," she said.

"My soul is seething that in this day and age that there could ever be the possibility let alone the reality of a gas explosion.

"My prayers are with the miners and their families.

"The generational coal families of Ipswich, of which I belong, join with coal families across Australia in their despair, sadness and sorrow that this has occurred yet again. We join united with the miners in their fight for life, may our prayers be with you, and may you know that we are with you in spirit. Always."