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The Australian - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL McKENNA

For­mer fed­eral Lib­eral min­is­ter Ian Macfar­lane has at­tacked his state party over its move last month to force the Palaszczuk gov­ern­ment to re­lease its plans to pro­tect the state’s coal work­ers from black lung dis­ease.

The for­mer Howard and Turn­bull gov­ern­ment min­is­ter, now head of the Queens­land Re­sources Coun­cil, ac­cused Lib­eral Na­tional Party leader Tim Ni­cholls of a “cheap po­lit­i­cal stunt’’ that led to the gov­ern­ment aban­don­ing plans to de­lay its re­sponse to a damn­ing re­port into the resur­gence of the deadly dis­ease.

Ear­lier this month Mines Min­is­ter An­thony Lyn­ham fi­nally re­sponded to a par­lia­men­tary re­port into the dis­ease, of­fi­cially known as pneu­mo­co­nio­sis, with a $25 mil­lion pack­age of mea­sures.

Dr Lyn­ham said the gov­ern- ment sup­ported all 68 rec­om­men­da­tions made by the coal work­ers’ pneu­mo­co­nio­sis se­lect com­mit­tee in­quiry four months ago, which was launched fol­low­ing the reemer­gence of the dis­ease.

The in­quiry called for the es­tab­lish­ment of an in­de­pen­dent mine safety and health author­ity to take the job of pro­tect­ing work­ers away from the depart­ment, which it said had made inad­e­quate and su­per­fi­cial at­tempts at do­ing so.

The gov­ern­ment had ini­tially sought a three-month ex­ten­sion in re­spond­ing to the re­port.

In an email last week to the heads of min­ing and re­source com­pa­nies, Mr Macfar­lane said the LNP had con­vinced La­bor back­bencher Joanne Miller — a strong ad­vo­cate of min­ers — to cross the floor and force the gov­ern­ment to re­lease its re­sponse.

“Faced with los­ing con­trol of the cham­ber and hav­ing Joanne Miller cross the floor against them, the gov­ern­ment was forced to agree to re­lease the re­port re­sponse, which they did on Fri­day,’’ he said.

“The in­dus­try should not miss the op­por­tu­nity to re­mind the LNP that again they have failed to sup­port good process to the detri­ment of our in­dus­try.’’

Mr Macfar­lane said sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions were “flagged as re­quir­ing fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion or in­de­pen­dent ad­vice’’.

In a state­ment, the Op­po­si­tion Leader said it was the right thing to do.

“The LNP makes no apolo­gies for want­ing to drive black lung out of the Queens­land coal in­dus­try,’’ Mr Ni­cholls said.

Ni­cholls

Macfar­lane

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