New services welcomed as confirmed QLD mine dust disease cases hit 133

A new ‘one stop shop’ and confidential hotline announced by the Queensland Government today is a welcome initiative to support the growing number of Queenslanders affected by mine dust lung diseases, the Miners’ Union said today.

With the number of confirmed cases of mine dust diseases including Black Lung climbing to 133, current and former mineworkers need support to navigate the complex range of services available, said CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland President Stephen Smyth.

“The re-emergence of Black Lung after 30 years has been a wake up call and a lot of work has had to be done to overhaul systems for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and compensation,” said Mr Smyth.

“We acknowledge the Queensland Government’s work to date to address past failures and will keep pushing for improvement and change until we are satisfied mineworkers can go to work without risk of dangerous lung diseases.”

The new ‘one-stop-shop’ was announced today at the global Cut the Dust conference hosted by the CFMEU at the Gold Coast.

The conference that runs from today until Thursday brings together medical professionals, government officials and unions from around the world to share information and develop strategies to stamp out dangerous dust diseases in mining and other industries.

An extensive line-up of Australian and international medical experts includes:

  • Dr Robert Cohen: Clinical Professor and Director of the Mining Education and Research (MinER) Center in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr Cohen is a principal investigator for the only US Government-funded Black Lung Center of Excellence and for research projects on coal miners’ health in the US and internationally.
  • Dr Cecile Rose: Director of the Miners Clinic of Colorado and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at National Jewish Health. Dr Rose’s major research interests are in occupational lung diseases, particularly health issues affecting western miners.
  • Dr Deborah Yates: Respiratory Physician in the Department of Thoracic Medicine at the St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and Conjoint Associate Professor at the University of NSW. Dr Yates has a longstanding clinical and research interest in obstructive lung disease and occupational lung disorders, including asbestos-related disorders and occupational asthma.

Mineworkers’ representatives from the United States, Canada, South Africa, Russia, Mongolia, Pakistan, India and Indonesia will also attend.