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Senate Inquiry recommends protection for Queenslanders from coal dust

Media Release
Larissa Waters 16 Aug 2013

A Greens-initiated Senate Inquiry into the health impacts of air quality has today made important recommendations for Queenslanders affected by coal dust.

“Queenslanders living in Gladstone and near Mackay are at risk of breathing in coal dust from nearby coal stockpiles at the ports and, with coal trains passing through Brisbane uncovered, so are residents in southern Brisbane,” Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said.

“The Senate inquiry heard that Australia has inadequate monitoring and regulation of coal dust, which can get deep into our lungs and lead to chronic lung disease or cancer.

“Given these serious health impacts, it’s hardly surprising that the inquiry recommended health impact assessments for new mining developments, better air quality monitoring and the covering of coal trains that spread dust in populated areas.”

“With more plans for new and expanded coal ports along the Queensland coast, the very health of nearby communities depends on these recommendations being acted on,” Senator Waters said.

 Victorian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale, a former GP and public health professional, moved the inquiry, which heard from community members, industry and environmental protection agencies.

“The report confirms that Australia must do much more to protect the community from the health impacts of air pollution such as coal dust.

“We need to do a much better job of actually monitoring our air quality. People in places like Brisbane, Gladstone and Mackay need to know what's in the air they and their children are breathing.

“The Greens referred this inquiry because air pollution kills people and we care about protecting people's health,” Senator Di Natale said.


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