Lung Foundation Australia welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment and $11 million investment over four years to better protect and support Australians working in dust-generating industries.
This funding is part of the All of Government’s Response to the Final Report of the National Dust Disease Taskforce and will support the following areas:
- An enhanced focus on prevention
- Better support for affected workers and their families
- Building the skills and knowledge of medical professionals
- Strengthening the evidence base and taking a more strategic approach to research.
- Overarching governance and monitoring and evaluation strategies.
We support this and future investment to both prevent occupational lung disease and to ensure workers currently impacted and their family are given every opportunity to have an improved quality of life.
We strongly advocate for accessible, confidential, free and tailored information and support for people impacted by occupational lung disease and their families. This includes managing the associated physical and mental health burden and the financial impacts of these diseases.
Our work in occupational lung disease education and awareness
Lung Foundation Australia is proud to see acknowledgement of our important work in this space. As Australia’s peak lung health body, Lung Foundation Australia is very experienced in the cocreation of public health campaigns, resources, information and support services.
We have developed and delivered a range of evidence-based resources and information to increase awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and management of occupational lung disease. During National Safe Work Month in 2021, more than 1,900 Australian high-risk workers completed our Healthy Lungs at Work quiz to help identify potential risks and hazards and learn how to protect themselves and their lungs at work. This quiz encouraged workers to speak to their doctor about their work environment as well as any symptoms they may be experiencing.. We are also committed to supporting health professionals and supporting policy change.
Lung Foundation Australia is currently facilitating the development of the 2022–2027 National Silicosis Prevention Strategy (NSPS) and accompanying National Action Plan (NAP). This Strategy and Plan is one of a number of recommendations from the National Dust Disease Taskforce’s Final Report to define the priorities and actions required to reduce the impact of silicosis on individuals, the community and the economy. The importance of preventing this disease cannot be understated.
While the recommendations and funding mark a much-needed step forward in this space, we note there is a diversity of opinion with respect to the banning of engineered stone products and we eagerly await the findings from the Regulatory Impact Assessment. We look forward to the results informing the prevention of occupational lung disease in at-risk industries, and ultimately hope to see all workers protected from ever developing silicosis and other occupational lung diseases. We will continue to advocate to protect the lung health of all workers – together we can ensure every Australian can work in an environment free from harm. You can read more about our advocacy for workers here: https://lungfoundation.com.au/resources/2022-election-priorities/