RACP urges involvement of specialist physicians in implementing dust disease taskforce report

16 July 2021

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians welcomes the National Dust Disease Taskforce’s Final Report and calls on the Government to adopt all of its recommendations.

The Taskforce was established by the Federal Government in July 2019 following many months of strong joint advocacy from the RACP, its Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) and the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ).

Respiratory physician and RACP President Professor John Wilson AM said “The National Dust Disease Taskforce has played a crucial role in driving the development of a national approach for the prevention, early identification, control and management of dust diseases in Australia.

“The RACP has previously advocated[1] for the establishment of a permanent multi-disciplinary group to oversee the implementation of the National Dust Disease Taskforce’s final recommendations which have now been released.

“We are pleased to see this reflected in Recommendation 7 of the Taskforce’s Final report.

“We are calling on the Federal Government to establish this cross-jurisdictional mechanism urgently to ensure the recommended actions in the report are adopted, monitored and progressed in an efficient and coordinated way.”

Professor Malcolm Sim AM, RACP spokesperson and President of the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine says “There is no doubt the prevention and control of silicosis and other occupational lung diseases in Australia is going to require the establishment of an effective National Dust Disease Registry and a dedicated cross-jurisdictional governance mechanism involving the expertise of specialist physicians.

“There is a real risk that without a National Registry and this mechanism, overseeing the prevention and management of dust diseases including silicosis in Australia – more workers will continue to unnecessarily be at risk of developing these preventable and life-threatening diseases.”

[1] RACP Submission to the National Dust Disease Taskforce (May 2021): Draft Vision, Strategies and Priority Areas for Action.

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