Coal mine lung dust disease (CMDLD) and artificial stone (AS) silicosis are preventable diseases which have occurred in serious outbreaks in Australia recently. This has prompted a TSANZ review of Australia's approach to respiratory periodic health surveillance. While regulating respirable dust exposure remains the foundation of primary and secondary prevention, identification of workers with early disease assists with control of further exposure, and with the aims of preserving lung function and decreasing respiratory morbidity in those affected. Prompt detection of an abnormality also allows for ongoing respiratory specialist clinical management. This review outlines a medical framework for improvements in respiratory surveillance to detect CMDLD and AS silicosis in Australia. This includes appropriate referral, improved data collection and interpretation, enhanced surveillance, the establishment of a nationwide Occupational Lung Disease Registry and an independent advisory group. These measures are designed to improve health outcomes for workers in the coal mining, AS and other dust-exposed and mining industries.