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Black Lung committee appointed for inquiry

Queensland Parliament has appointed a six-person Parliamentary select committee to inquire into how black lung re-emerged and how to prevent it.

Minister for Natural resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said that a focused parliamentary select committee inquiry would build on what had already been learned from an independent review and a Senate inquiry.

“We’re now tackling this disease on three fronts – prevention, early detection and a safety net for workers with this disease,” he said.

“A lot more remains to be done, but with coordinated action, combined purpose and a sound scientific basis, we have already made significant progress.

“An inquiry will add to what we already know from the independent Monash University review and the Senate inquiry.

“It will all help to ensure that every one of these 5,500 workers is safe into the future because coal workers have every right to go home safely every night to their families.”

Dr Lynham said he welcomed the bi-partisan support shown for the select committee.

The committee’s terms of reference are – a select committee, to be known as the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (CWP) select committee, be established to undertake an inquiry and report on the re-emergence of CWP amongst coal mine workers in Queensland.

In undertaking the inquiry, the committee consider:

  1. the legislative and other regulatory arrangements of government and industry which have existed in Queensland to eliminate and prevent CWP;
  2. whether these arrangements were adequate, and have been adequately and effectively maintained over time;
  3. the roles of government departments and agencies, mine operators, nominated medical advisers , radiologists, industry safety and health representatives and unions representing coal mine workers in these arrangements;
  4. the study into CWP undertaken by Monash University and the findings of the Senate Select Committee on Health (Fifth Interim Report) and other relevant reports and studies;
  5. the efficacy and efficiency of adopting methodologies and processes for coal mine dust measurement and mitigation, including monitoring regimes, engineering measures, personal protective equipment, statutory requirements, and mine policies and practices, including practices in jurisdictions with similar coal mining industries; and
  6. other matters the committee determines are relevant, including other respiratory diseases associated with underground mining.

The committee have power to call for persons, documents and other items; and the committee have to report to the Legislative Assembly by 12 April, 2017.

The committee consist of six members of the Legislative Assembly: Ms Miller (Chair), Mr Costigan, Mr Crawford, Mr Kelly, Mr Knuth and Mr Springborg.

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