Dr Greg Slater, an expert in reading xrays for Black Lung Disease, photographed at Greenslopes Hospital. Picture: Russell Shakespeare
Dr Greg Slater, an expert in reading xrays for Black Lung Disease, photographed at Greenslopes Hospital. Picture: Russell Shakespeare

Miners must know the truth on black lung records: Last

MINERS deserve access to government records detailing the enforcement of recommendations from a black lung inquiry, Burdekin MP Dale Last says.

The opposition mines spokesman has called on the State Government to "dust off" the records that show the implementation of recommendations from the Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis (black lung) inquiry.

It comes after an Auditor-General's report found 27 recommendations from the inquiry had not been implemented.

Black lung was thought to have been eradicated in Queensland until its first reoccurence was identified in 2015.

In 2017, the Queensland Parliament established a CWP Select Committee that produced two state parliamentary reports on the subject.

The committee - in addition to the independent Monash Review - put forward 91 recommendations to the State Government to improve the health of coal and other workers.

Mr Last said the Auditor-General's report proved the State Government had "botched" the implementation of 27 recommendations of the CWP inquiry.

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But Director-General James Purtill noted the government had supported or supported in principle all 68 recommendations of the inquiry.

Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: Shae Beplate.

"In doing so, the government stated it accepted the intent of the recommendations and acknowledged that additional analysis and consultation was required to better understand the most appropriate implementation pathway," Mr Purtill said.

It has now been more than two years since the CWP Select Committee's final report.

Mr Last doubted the concerns raised would be addressed before the October 31 state election.

"(Mines Minister Anthony Lynham) has allowed the recommendations on unannounced inspections to be watered down as just one example," Mr Last said.

"And the Auditor-General found that, even when inspections for mine dust are done, the information gathered is buried and that even departmental staff struggle to find it.

"How can we have a system that will actually keep our miners safe when the very department that is responsible for their safety can't access important information?"

The Burdekin MP said the Auditor-General had also noted there was a lack of accurate reporting on the status of the recommendations.

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Mines Minister Anthony Lynham. Picture: Daryl Wright
Mines Minister Anthony Lynham. Picture: Daryl Wright

"The best thing that Minister Lynham and the Premier can do is to publicly release all the documents surrounding the implementation of the recommendations today," Mr Last said.

"At least that way, Queensland's miners will know the truth and we can actually start making a difference and, potentially, start saving lives."

Dr Lynham said the State Government had made sweeping reforms to mine safety and health in the past five years.

"Queensland now has the toughest mine safety and health laws in the world - including introducing an offence of industrial manslaughter," he said.

"The LNP did nothing about mine worker safety and health during their disastrous three years in government.

"And the LNP, alongside One Nation voted against industrial manslaughter laws in 2017 - laws we have now extended to mines and quarries."