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Qld MP breaks down amid black-lung plea

AAP logoAAP 18/08/2016 By Jamie McKinnell

Queensland Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller, supporting calls for an inquiry into the re-emergence of black lung, has broken down in parliament while explaining how the disease touched her family.

Ms Miller said her father, grandfathers and great-grandfathers, who were underground coal miners, were all too familiar with the dangers of the industry.

She said her grandfather James Pringle died in 1968 from pneumoconiosis - or black lung disease.

"I ask members to imagine it - his lungs were totally black," she said on Thursday evening.

"That is why this matter is most important to me.

"It is so close to my heart because it is family."

Ms Miller was speaking in support of an opposition motion calling for a commission of inquiry into black lung in Queensland, which was later passed in an amended form that instead demanded a parliamentary committee investigate.

The Bundamba MP first called for a commission of inquiry during budget estimates last month.

Opposition leader Tim Nicholls said protests from unions showed "serious underlying concerns" needed to be addressed.

"There seems to be a blame game happening now between the industry and government departments as to what happened, why it happened and whose fault it was," Mr Nicholls said.

The official number of black lung cases discovered in Queensland has risen to 14, however the CFMEU believes there are more than 30 patients.

The potentially fatal disease was believed to be effectively eradicated in Queensland for decades before re-emerging in the past 12 months.

A report into how Queensland deals with black lung last month found systemic failures at "virtually all levels" and prompted a government overhaul.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said seven out of the 16 workers compensation claims so far had been accepted.

"I want to assure anyone with the disease and their families that they will get their compensation, medical assistance and the support they need quickly and promptly," she said.

There are currently 5500 underground workers in Queensland and 10,000 open-cut workers.

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