Steve Mellor is a 40-year-old coal miner who was diagnosed with Black Lung disease two years ago. Despite working in underground coal mines for 13 years, Steve had never heard of the disease.
As a contractor, Steve was simply ‘let go’ after his diagnosis. The mining companies did not provide any support; his past employers wiped their hands. He has had to seek out and fund all his own medical treatment.
Because he can’t risk being further exposed to dust, Steve’s career in mining is over. He hasn’t worked since his diagnosis.
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Dust Victims Group
The Mine Dust Victims Group has been formed to represent the interests of those who have been diagnosed with one of the mine dust diseases.
Dust disease victims and their families have been betrayed by a trifecta of failure:
- by the mining companies, who failed to provide a safe workplace
- by successive state governments, who did not enforce proper regulations
- by medical professionals who failed to diagnose their diseases over decades.
The terrible price being paid for this failure includes:
- Ill health, and increasingly, death
- Loss of wages
- Increased medical costs
Something has to be done to meet the out of pocket expenses for victims who require tests and treatment.
Victims Assistance Fund
It is time for the Mining Companies to step up to the plate and assist stricken Victims through a small levy.
Victims are left largely to fend for themselves as they embark on costly exercises involved in discovering the extent and treatment required to fight the effects of Dust Diseases. They need, and deserve, an Assistance Fund.
The Victims Group is proposing a modest one cent, per tonne, per week levy on coal produced in Queensland to initially establish a Queensland-wide coal industry fund to assist those coal workers who are already suffering from mine dust diseases and the increasing number of other victims who are coming through.