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Govt invests $25 M to protect coal workers

The Palaszczuk Government will invest $25 million over the next two years to deliver more reforms to protect the health and safety of the state’s coal workers.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham made the commitment today as the government’s response was tabled in Parliament to the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Select Committee report no. 2—Inquiry into the re-identification of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis in Queensland

“The Palaszczuk Government’s focus has always been to eradicate this insidious disease that does not belong in the 21stcentury,” Dr Lynham said.

“As I told Parliament this week, we have worked tirelessly to rapidly implement   significant reforms to date.

“We support all of the report’s 68 recommendations, particularly:

  • the establishment of an independent regulator
  • improved oversight and enforcement of respirable dust monitoring
  • improved health arrangements and workers compensation and rehabilitation for workers .

“Our government will invest another $21.051 million over two years – this financial year and next – on top of our existing commitment of $3.737 million to achieve this.

“Due to the complexity of some of the recommendations, we believe addition analysis and consultation is required to implement those recommendations.

“The Government will continue thorough consultations on these specific recommendations.

“This work will occur in parallel with our ongoing work on the 18 Monash recommendations, which are all either implemented or well advanced.”

Reforms already in place include:

  •  coal miners’ compulsory chest X-rays being assessed at least twice; firstly by an Australian radiologist and then by US-based experts. By the end of this year, the second check will be done in Australia by qualified B-reader Australian radiologists.
  • all coal mine workers receive compulsory health assessments when they enter the industry, while they are working, and when they retire
  • a new recognised standard for underground respirable dust control, to help mines identify key areas of dust generation and assist with managing the risk of worker exposure.
  • respirable dust monitoring results from Queensland’s coal mines being published online quarterly, with the first results already online.
  • a register of appropriately qualified and experienced doctors, spirometry practitioners and X-ray imaging clinics to offer health services to coal miners.

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