Stronger workers’ compensation protection for workers with black lung in Queensland

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New laws in Queensland that will deliver stronger workers’ compensation protection for people with black lung and associated dust diseases have been enacted.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the protection outlined in the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation (Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis) and Other Legislation Bill 2017 were a huge step forward for those battling the disease.

“The passing of this Bill today means we can properly support Queensland coal workers and others affected by dust diseases such as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis,” said Ms. Grace.

“Coal miners and other workers who may have been exposed to dusty environments, including those who’ve retired or left the industry, will be looked after under the changes.

“During a very difficult time for them and their loved ones, affected workers will get their full and proper entitlements.

“The streamlined and simplified process means if workers have any concerns, they can access a medical examination through the workers’ compensation scheme.

“No fault statutory compensation through WorkCover is available, along with common law damages.

“The new laws also mean workers with a pneumoconiosis, including coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, can re-open their statutory claim to receive further lump sum compensation if their condition deteriorates.”

Ms. Grace said additional statutory lump sum is now available for workers suffering from coal workers’ pneumoconiosis from exposure to coal dust in the workplace.

“Pneumoconiosis is a horrible disease and sufferers can now count on appropriate support to monitor, manage and treat their illness,” she said.

“The Bill also allows the electrical safety regulator to review the competency of those seeking a license or looking to renew one.

“It also means the regulator will be able to immediately suspend an electrical worker’s licence in specific and extremely serious circumstances, in the interests of protecting the safety of others.

“The Bill also allows the Electrical Licensing Committee to direct an existing electrical work licence holder to undertake a competency reassessment where there are reasonable grounds to believe the licensee may not be competent.

“Michael and Lee Garrels have tirelessly campaigned for legislative change since they lost their son Jason to a preventable workplace accident in Claremont 2012.

“Jason’s Legacy will live on through this Bill.”

More information is available on WorkSafe’s website.

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