Psychiatric illness fails to win miner compo

A MINER who cheated death in the 1994 Moura Mine disaster has been unsuccessful in claiming compensation from his former employer after the onset of a psychiatric illness in the years following the tragic event.

The Moura No.2 Mine Disaster on August 7, 1994, in Central Queensland claimed the lives of 11 mineworkers.

The 11 workers were part of a night crew working 265m underground and 3km from the mine entrance when an explosion ripped through the BHP coal mine.

Their bodies were never recovered.

Former Moura mine worker Colin Oram, 41, lodged a compensation bid in 2011 against his former employer claiming the onset of a post-traumatic stress type disorder could be attributed to the disaster.

The Rockhampton Supreme Court heard, in a hearing last month, Mr Oram was rostered on to work that day but swapped his shift with another mineworker after he decided he was not fit to go underground because of excessive alcohol consumption the day before.

The worker who he swapped with was killed in the disaster.

The court heard Mr Oram had difficulties in the weeks, months and years following the disaster and had became reclusive and started to drink more heavily.

The court was told Mr Oram knew the 11 men killed in the disaster and the families of 10 of those men.

But it was not until the birth of his children that triggered or exacerbated feelings of guilt that he had survived when other children had lost their fathers in the disaster.

Mr Oram was eventually admitted to a clinic where he was diagnosed with having a major depressive disorder and some symptoms seen in post traumatic stress disorder.

Justice Duncan McMeekin, in dismissing Mr Oram's claim, said proceedings involving a claim for damages for personal injury must be brought within three years of the actual event.

He said to grant an extension, more that two decades after the initial event and 17-years since the claim period had expired, would be extremely prejudicial and he was not satisfied a fair trial could be held.


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