New case of black lung disease is 19th in Queensland
A CENTRAL Queensland miner has become the 19th person in the state diagnosed with black lung disease.
The latest victim is a 44-year-old man who has worked in underground mines for the past decade.
Black lung - coal workers pneumoconiosis - is caused by long-term exposure to coal dust.
It was thought for more than four decades that the disease had been eradicated by workplace improvements until it re-emerged two years ago.
"We've now reached the 19th confirmed case of black lung in Australia in less than 18 months,'' CFMEU Mining and Energy division Queensland president Stephen Smyth said.
The latest person, who wishes to remain anonymous, was diagnosed by his specialist two weeks ago.
A Queensland Parliament select committee is currently holding an inquiry into the problem and is due to report next month.
But the union has called on mining companies to do more and stepped up a call for a 10-cents-a-tonne coal industry-funded levy to pay for a victims' compensation fund
"While the Queensland Government has shown initiative in its recent inquiry into the disease, taxpayers should not be asked to foot the bill for the solution - mining giants need to take action," Mr Smyth said.
"The system of identifying and remedying the causes of the disease have clearly failed, and it is workers and their families who are paying the price.
"The mining industry sits at the centre of the problem and it is the mining industry that needs to play a key role in supporting victims and their families." he said.
Queensland Resources Council has been asked for comment.