The Labor government has been criticised for failing to protect the most vulnerable workers from the coalmine disaster that has devastated their lives.
The latest data shows that almost one in five Australian miners are at risk of dying from workplace-related illnesses as a result of the incident, including a large number of women.
The data also shows that about 20 per cent of Australian workers are experiencing some form of workplace-associated illness, such as asthma and other respiratory conditions.
Labor’s deputy leader for the environment, David Shoebridge, said on Thursday that the government was taking action to ensure workers were protected.
“The government has taken action to prevent the death of the miners who are suffering from workplace related illnesses in this terrible disaster,” he said.
“Our government will be taking swift action to protect all our workers from these hazards.”
The data, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, also shows there are now about 2.6 million miners in Australia.
Labor is seeking to amend the Mining Safety Act to ensure miners are properly insured and has also set up a new national workplace safety agency to oversee the industry.
The Labor Party has also launched a campaign against “blue collar” workers, who make up a majority of the workforce.
The issue of industrial safety has become a central part of the campaign.
It has also raised concerns about the level of safety training provided to Australian workers, with a recent ABC report saying the training for mine safety inspectors was “pretty good”.
Labor’s campaign group, the Australian Coal Association, has accused the Labor Party of being soft on the industry, saying it “doesn’t believe in the need for safety training”.
“The ALP has always been very clear that our workers are our workers,” it said in a statement.
“Labor wants to see the best-trained workers in Australia and is committed to supporting those with the skills needed to safely mine, mine and mine again.”