Queensland continues to lead the way in the fight against rising silicosis rates as it opens a dedicated lung disease hotline for former and current mining workers across the state.
The hotline will operate as a collaboration between the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME), WorkCover and the Office of Industrial Relations.
Starting on March 2, the line is entirely confidential and will offer access to services for mine workers, according to Queensland’s Assistant State Development Minister Julieanne Gilbert.
The move comes after mining workers expressed to authorities and government departments that it is difficult to obtain information and services that are relevant to their health and working conditions.
“The one-stop shop will provide them expert advice and support on navigating the system – from pre-health screening to accessing post workers’ compensation claim support services and everything in between,” she said.
“Easy access to accurate workplace health information and free services is essential for concerned and affected workers and their families.”
Brittany Luaga, Queensland’s Member for Keppel and Assistant Education Minister explained that the hotline will make access to services, advice and health care options simpler for workers and their families.
“With one call to the Mine Dust Health Support Service, callers will be able to get information about free mine worker health services, including compulsory free chest x-rays and lung function tests, and ready access to advice about workers’ compensation,” she said.
“I encourage former and current mineworkers to pick up a phone and dial 1300 445 715.”
Queensland Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said that the “Palaszczuk Government has ensured simpler, faster workers comp claims and extra lump sum payments for people with black lung or silicosis,” he added.
The announcement of the hotline comes alongside the announcement of a $35 million grant, aimed at improving safety and health for Queensland mine workers.