QLD Government launches new research grants for occupational lung disease

QLD Government launches new research grants for occupational lung disease

The Queensland government has announced more than $3 million in research grants into occupational lung diseases via the Industrial Relations Minister, Grace Grace.

Minster Grace noted that the funding was part of an election commitment to fund at least $5m of medical research into occupational dust lung diseases, with a focus on coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and silicosis.

“The Palaszczuk Government is proud of our strong record to protect the health and safety of Queensland workers, but we always want to do more,” Ms Grace said.

“These lung diseases are preventable and have limited treatment options, particularly where a worker has advanced disease.

“That’s why we committed at the election to fund research: to help prevent these diseases, to pick them up earlier in affected workers, and to find more and better effective treatments.

“There are three very worthy recipients with different research projects, ranging from screening methods to analysis of exposure scenarios.

“I look forward to the projects providing us with a deeper understanding of the impacts of exposure and how the disease progresses, so we can support more Queensland workers.”

The University of Queensland will collaborate with the Chicago School of Public Health, with $1.5m in funds dedicated to the research partnership which will focus on early detection, progression and prevention of dust-related diseases.

Additionally, $782,000 will go to i-Med Queensland, which will seek to determine the effectiveness of screening methods, while a further $827,000 has been awarded to UQ to collaborate with University of New South Wales, with the project focusing on identifying factors critical in the development and progression of pneumoconiosis and silicosis.

Minister Grace said funding the research was one of several ways that the Palaszczuk Government was committing to minimising the exposure to occupational dust and supporting diagnosed workers.

“The Palaszczuk Government is nation leading in this area,” Ms Grace said. “Our initiatives include Australia’s first Code of Practice for the engineered stone benchtop industry; developing one of Australia’s first Clinical Pathway Guidelines for doctors assessing and managing silicosis in engineered stone benchtop workers; establishing the Mine Dust Health Support Service; and creating the Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register.

“We are also close to finalising a Silica Code of Practice for the Construction Industry, which will establish minimum enforceable standards to ensure silica dust is managed safely and workers are protected in both the construction industry and in the manufacturing of construction materials.”

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