Queensland’s Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has announced more than $3 million in research grants for occupational dust lung disease.
The grants were part of an election commitment to fund $5 million for medical research examining the impact of occupational dust lung diseases, particularly on coal mine workers, pneumoconiosis (black lung) 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,” Grace said.
“These lung diseases are preventable and have limited treatment options, particularly where a worker has advanced disease.
“There are three very worthy recipients with different research projects, ranging from screening methods to analysis of exposure scenarios.”
The University of Queensland will receive $1.5 million to collaborate with the Chicago School of Public Health at the University of Illinois to research early detection, prevention, and progression of mineral dust-related lung diseases.
The director of UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute, Professor Neville Plint, said the funding would make a huge difference.
“We are delighted and incredibly grateful to the Palaszczuk Government for this funding opportunity,” Plint said.
“This international research partnership, supported by the Queensland Office of Industrial Relations, combines deep knowledge and experience spanning the domains of mining engineering, mineralogy, occupational epidemiology, pulmonary pathology and toxicology, and clinical pulmonary medicine.”
I-Med Queensland will receive $782,000 for an investigation to compare the effectiveness of screening methods.
UQ has also been awarded $827,000 to collaborate with the University of New South Wales to identify factors critical to the development, severity, and progression of coal workers pneumoconiosis and silicosis.
“(The Queensland Government’s initiatives include) Australia’s first code of practice for the engineered stone benchtop industry, developing one of Australia’s first clinical pathways guidelines for doctors assessing and managing silicosis in engineered stone benchtop workers, establishing the Mine Health Dust Support Service, and creating the Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register,” Grace said.
“The Government is 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.”