The Albanese Labor Government is taking action to reduce the rates of occupational respiratory disease in Australia and eliminate silicosis, an incurable lung disease caused by long-term exposure to silica dust.
Nearly one in four engineered stone workers who have been in the industry prior to 2018 have been diagnosed with silicosis or other silica dust related diseases. This number is predicted to rise.
A grant of $3.95 million will support Lung Foundation Australia to focus on prevention and awareness, strengthen the dust disease evidence base, and build research capability.
This grant will fund targeted education and communication activities to prevent workers from developing dust diseases and raise awareness of the risks of working in dust generating industries—including construction, tunnelling, mining and quarrying.
The investment will be used to:
- Expand Lung Foundation Australia’s Respiratory Care Nurse telephone-based service
- Develop and implement a Silicosis Care Management Plan for use by GPs
- Create a single, centralised hub to provide affected workers and their families with the information, support and expert advice they need
- Expand the National Safe Work Month to raise awareness of occupational lung disease
- Establish a research forum, and
- Develop a National Rapid Response Protocol.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND AGED CARE GED KEARNEY MP
“Workers deserve to feel safe and protected on the job, and go on to live happy, healthy lives with their loved ones – not deal with the consequences of a preventable and incurable respiratory condition.”
“Silicosis is a preventable disease, and yet it continues to affect too many of our workers and we know the numbers are likely to increase."
"Raising awareness and developing better coordinated care strategies is an integral part of tackling the problem. There’s work to be done and this is a step in the right direction.”