Call for black lung screening van review
SHADOW Mines Minister Dale Last wants a review of a key element in the new mobile health screening van for coal mine workers, saying last week's announcement doesn't "instil a great deal of confidence".
The Queensland Government approved funding for the screening van after it was recommended by the Parliamentary Select Committee into coal workers' pneumoconiosis (black lung) two years ago.
The van would offer five-yearly health reviews and respiratory health checks at mine sites; however, Mr Last wants the frequency of these to be bumped up to every three years.
"I want guarantees from the government that the health van will be adequately resourced, because the funding announced recently doesn't instil a great deal of confidence," he said.
"I have concerns that the program will only test workers every five years. In other jurisdictions, testing is done far more frequently and we need to ensure we detect diseases like black lung as soon as possible.
"The committee's recommendation was for tests every three years for underground coal workers, so I think the timeframes need to be reconsidered and adequate resources committed."
Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said while the CWP Select Committee recommended between a three to six year frequency, the Collaborative Medical Group settled on five yearly.
"I would much prefer to take the advice of eminent medical experts than the Member for Burdekin," Dr Lynham said.
" We have delivered all the recommendations of the independent Monash University review of the respiratory component of the Coal Mine Workers' Health Scheme and we have now actioned all 68 of the Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis Select Committee recommendations.''
Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said he agreed with Mr Last's call.
"Of course (testing) should be rigorous, of course it should be robust - otherwise you're not doing it properly," Mr Costigan said.
While a date for the van to be rolled out has not been set, the State Government is expected to work with stakeholders to determine the best option in partnering with local providers to deliver the service.