A new one-stop-shop support service for current and former mine and quarry workers in Queensland will be announced today.
Assistant State Development Minister and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the new confidential hotline – 1300 445 715 – would kick off on Monday, 2 March to give current and former mine workers faster access to the services they need.
“Easy access to accurate workplace health information and free services is essential for concerned and affected workers and their families,” she said.
“My constituents, both past or current mine workers, tell me it can be a challenge to navigate various public and private sector organisations to find information and services.
“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.”
Central Queensland MPs welcomed the initiative.
Member for Keppel and Assistant Education Minister Brittany Lauga said the hotline would make access to advice and services much 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 mine workers to pick up a phone and dial 1300 445 715.”
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said mine dust lung disease impacted all aspects of a worker’s life and could cause significant personal and financial distress.
“That’s why the Government introduced laws in 2017 that deliver stronger workers’ compensation protections for Queenslanders suffering from black lung or other forms of dust lung disease.
“For those who have developed these insidious diseases through their work, support is available.
“The Palaszczuk Government has ensured simpler, faster workers comp claims and extra lump sum payments for people with black lung or silicosis.”
The hotline is open to current and former mine workers and their families, as well as doctors seeking information about the screening and diagnosis process.
WorkCover Queensland CEO Bruce Watson said that the Mine Dust Health Support service is an extremely positive step forward in tackling the impact these diseases can have on workers and their families.
“This new service provides an enhanced, seamless service to those impacted by mine dust disease,” Mr Watson said.
The one-stop-shop is a collaborative engagement between the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, WorkCover and the Office of Industrial Relations.
Dr Lynham said the one stop shop was just another measure in the suite of sweeping reforms the Palaszczuk Government had made to better protect mine workers.
Thanks to the Palaszczuk Government’s reforms:
Queensland coal workers now receive free respiratory health checks when they start in the industry, when they leave, and at least every five years while they are working.
- Retired or former coal, mineral mine and quarry workers have access to the same free checks.
- All medical professionals who provide compulsory mine worker health checks and take and read chest x-rays must have special training.
- Workers’ free x-rays are taken in specially registered x-ray imaging clinics.
As well, the Palaszczuk Government has:
- Increased maximum penalties for offences to $4 million and powers for the regulator to issue fines without going to court.
- Supported statewide safety reset sessions for mine and quarry workers to refocus on health and safety.
- Allocated $35 million to deliver reforms to improve the safety and health of our mine workers.
- Brought legislation before parliament to establish an independent resources health and safety authority.
Contact the Mine Dust Health Support Service on 1300 445 715 or email [email protected]