Black lung parliamentary inquiry begins in QLD

The CFMEU has welcomed the first day of public hearings for the Queensland parliamentary inquiry into black lung held in Brisbane today.

Last month the state government appointed the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis select committee to inquire into the disease’s resurgence in the state, and find ways to prevent it.

It was given the powers of the select committee to call for witnesses and gain access to documents related to the disease, building on from the Monash review and the Senate Inquiry findings.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Division Queensland district president Stephen Smyth said he hoped the hearings would provide answers to victims of the disease and their families.

“This is a chance to clear the air and get the facts on the table about what went wrong and why?” he said.

“I hope those who appear will come before the committee with the intention to be fully open and transparent, with a genuine commitment to change.”

This comes after the QLD government announced current measures used to protect the safety of coal mine workers will become requirements under the law from January 2017; tightening rules around medical assessments, and dust management and reporting.

There have been 16 confirmed cases of black lung in QLD since the disease resurged in Australia late last year, with the most recent case affecting a worker from an open cut coal mine.

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