Federation Chamber - STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS - Appin Coal Mine Disaster: 44th Anniversary

31 July 2023

Sadly, last week marked the 44th anniversary of the tragic Appin coal mine explosion that took 14 lives and greatly affected the Macarthur region. Our community was severely shaken on 24 July 1979 when a devastating underground explosion took place at the Appin coal mine, resulting in the tragic loss of life of Alwyn Brewin, Francis Garrity, Ian Giffard, Geoffrey Johnson, Jurgen Lauterbach, Alexander Lawson, James Oldcorn, Peter Peck, Robert Rawcliffe, Roy Rawlings, Karl Staats, John Stonham, Roy Williams and Gary Woods. It left 38 children without fathers, and families were left to mourn and come to terms with the sudden shock to their small community of Appin.

I was unable to attend this year's service; I was out of the state on an agriculture committee inquiry. However, I'd like to thank event organisers for their ongoing work to ensure we never forget this disaster. We must never compromise on safety standards in the workplace and we must remain mindful of the vital role that the union movement has played and will continue to play in this field. We know that the Appin mine disaster had a long-lasting effect not just on the families affected but on the wider Macarthur community. We know people are still losing their lives in industrial accidents, mining, manufacturing, building et cetera, and we must be very mindful of the fact that people should be able to go to work knowing they'll return safely in the evening.