The CFMEU Mining and Energy Division said today that following a long campaign by Black Lung disease victims in Queensland, the Queensland Resources Council finally recognised the need to review the compensation policy for sufferers of Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (CWP).

CFMEU Mining and Energy Division General Secretary, Andrew Vickers said this is an important step that will show workers, victims and their families their fight has brought about change.

“Today’s announcement, along with the current Parliamentary Inquiry on Black Lung, shows that without a doubt this disease is deadly, it’s here and there is more the industry needs to do to address the problem,” said Mr Vickers.

“It is encouraging to see that the QRC has looked at the evidence objectively and departed from their previous position towards advocating for an industry-funded solution.

“While the CFMEU welcomes the sentiment of this announcement, a mere review of the current compensation is not sufficient to address the problem.

“We must establish a fund separate to the Workers’ Compensation Scheme to deal with CWP exclusively – paid for by mining companies. Mining companies are the ones who caused the reemergence of this disease (if it ever really went away); they are the ones who should fund the solution.

“A 10 cent levy per tonne of coal mined is the minimum they can do to help rectify the pain the pain and suffering they have caused. This is not the responsibility of the taxpayers of Queensland – mining companies cannot be let off the hook for a deadly disease that was caused by their own negligence.

“This is a time for action on Black Lung. We cannot expect current victims to remain in limbo while the industry and decision-makers defer decisions to committees.

“Victims of Black Lung are falling through the cracks. As a victim you are either told that your illness is life-threatening or that you’re sick but not quite enough to be supported.

“Not only does the diagnosis impose a huge blow of uncertainty for your future, it also brings with it a tremendous loss of income to you and your family – impacting your livelihood, mental and physical health. It is not fair and the system needs to better support these victims.

“The CFMEU and the Black Lung Victims Support Group will continue to campaign for immediate action to deliver a 10 cent levy to support victims,” said Mr Vickers.

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