Coalmine dust disease victims and their supporters will march on BHP’s Melbourne headquarters demanding more assistance for black lung and silicosis sufferers.
The Mine Dust Diseases Victims Group has already rallied in Queensland and will be in Melbourne on Friday to attempt to meet with BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie.
The group wants a funding program for victims and their families once workers compensation payments finish.
“These companies reap enormous profits from the labour of their workers,” former coal miner and Queensland state MP Jim Pearce said.
“BHP does next to nothing to support employees who contract potentially deadly and debilitating mine dust diseases while working in their mines.”
Mr Pearce said more than 100 Queensland mineworkers have been diagnosed with dust diseases and the number grows each month.
“Sadly, many workers are frightened to get tested for mine dust diseases because they are frightened of being sacked and losing their livelihoods,” he said.
The Mine Dust Disease Victims Support Group is proposing a one cent per tonne, per week levy on coal produced to go into the fund for sick workers and their families.
“This ask is not radical or unreasonable. In the US, coal companies pay a $ US1.10 per tonne levy on each tonne of coal produced to assist mine disease victims,” Mr Pearce said.
Australian Associated Press