National Silicosis Prevention Strategy

Lung Foundation Australia were appointed by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care to facilitate the development of the 2023–2028 National Silicosis Prevention Strategy (NSPS) and accompanying National Action Plan (NAP).

What’s the goal of the NSPS?

The goal of the NSPS is to prevent and ultimately eliminate silicosis as an occupational disease in Australia. Five priority areas for action were identified to achieve this goal:

Priority Area 1: Workplace risk reduction
Priority Area 2: Education and awareness
Priority Area 3: Health monitoring, screening and surveillance
Priority Area 4: Governance
Priority Area 5: Research and development

What’s next?

Following handover from Lung Foundation Australia, the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care will consult with its federal and state and territory counterparts for the relevant Ministers’ endorsement and implementation of the five priority areas for action. Regardless, Lung Foundation Australia will be advocating for full implementation of the five priority areas for action and accompanying activities outlined in the NSPS and NAP.

What consultation occurred as part of the NSPS?

Consultation processes undertaken by Lung Foundation Australia to develop the NSPS and NAP between January 2022 and May 2023 included workshops, key opinion leader interviews, patient/carer interviews, an open consultation process, and surveys. Extensive consultation was undertaken with stakeholders including affected workers and their families, with input from governments, industry, unions, workers, employers, regulators, medical and health professionals, researchers and peak bodies. The process was overseen by a multi-disciplinary and sector Expert Steering Committee with advice and input from a Reference Group.

The process was overseen by a multi-disciplinary and sector Expert Steering Committee with advice and input from a Reference Group. A draft copy of the NSPS and NAP used for public consultation can be found by clicking on link below.

How was the NSPS developed?

The development of the NSPS and associated NAP is one of a number of recommendations from the National Dust Disease Taskforce (specifically, recommendation 3a.) These initiatives rely on the most up-to-date evidence and aim to build on the foundation of bodies of work underway in various other jurisdictions. All levels of government involved agree that there is a need for urgent reform and to enable measures that will keep workers and their families safe and healthy.

The NSPS and NAP were informed by the large body of silicosis and occupational lung diseases work undertaken over many years in Australia and internationally, including the NSPS Scientific and Evidence Report – Silicosis in Australia and Scientific and National Dust Disease Taskforce Consultation Synthesis. They are a direct result of the National Dust Disease Taskforce’s Final Report to Minister for Health and Aged Care (June 2021) and the All of Governments’ Response to the Final Report of the National Dust Disease Taskforce (March 2022). The NSPS and NAP draw on contemporary public health, disease prevention, respiratory health, and work health and safety literature.

To learn more about silicosis, explore our dedicated section here.

Expert Steering Committee Members 

Dr Ryan Hoy – Chair
Kate Cole OAM, Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists – Co-Chair
Emeritus Prof Malcolm Sim AM, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Jennifer Low, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Kim Smith, Caesarstone
Deborah Vallance, Australian Council of Trade Unions
Prof Deborah Yates, The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand
Obsever, Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
Observer, Australian Government Department of Employment and Workplace Relations

Reference Group Members

Dr Robert Edwards
Dr Graeme Edwards
Prof Lin Fritschi
A/Prof Deborah Glass
Dr Ronald McCoy, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Tracey Browne, Australian Industry Group
Megan Davison, Minerals Council of Australia
Tony Lopez, Housing Industry Association
Steven Pierce, Mining & Energy Union
Rebecca Sostarko, Master Builders Australia
Lee McCallum, Silicosis Support Network
Dr Nick Allsop, iCare
Julia Collins, Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency
Perdita Dickson, WorkSafe Victoria
Catherine Jones, SafeWork SA
Tobias Reeves, Office of Industrial Relations (QLD)
Alice Morris, WorkSafe Tasmania
Aklesh Nand, SafeWork NSW
Sally North, Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (WA)
Evan Pengelly, Resources Safety & Health Queensland
Jackii Shepherd, WorkSafe ACT
Ewan Wylie, Heart of Australia

To access information if you are living with silicosis, click here.