Statement by QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane on the review of the Workers’ Compensation Scheme
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has thanked the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, the Hon Grace Grace, for her quick response in establishing the Stakeholder Reference Group to address compensation arrangements surrounding Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (CWP).
QRC’s position, outlined to the Parliamentary Committee on the Workers’ Compensation Scheme this morning, broadly supports the recommendations of the Stakeholder Reference Group that all workers who contract CWP should receive fair compensation in a timely fashion, and retired workers or workers who had left the industry can have access to medical examinations at no cost.
QRC was one of the first bodies who advocated for the need for a review of the Workers’ Compensation Scheme and improvements in the scheme to deal adequately with all cases. In particular, the QRC recognised workers, who are diagnosed with early stages of CWP should be entitled to receive statutory compensation including circumstances where those workers are not suffering any permanent impairment or incapacity for work.
The Parliamentary Select Committee’s report into CWP released earlier this year represented a substantial body of work and the QRC acknowledges the committee’s open engagement with all parties and commends them for their professionalism in overseeing such a complex review.
The resources sector is completely supportive of, and has fully cooperated with Minister Lynham and the work of the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, including the implementation of the recommendations made in the Monash Review.
Meanwhile, coal companies have fully adopted all new regulations and have cooperated with the government in the design of significant improvements to the medical assessment process including lung function tests, spirometry testing and new standards to set out clear requirements for medical practitioners conducting tests.
The health and safety of workers is a core value and the resources sector will only strengthen its commitment to see that CWP is eradicated.