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Asbestos victims don't die by instalments: James
Hardie shouldn't compensate by instalments
Monday, 15th September 2014
Asbestos groups are outraged by the announcement that the James Hardie asbestos compensation fund will seek approval from the Supreme Court to pay victims by instalments following a forecast shortfall of funds within three years.
The Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia said the move was a slap in the face to victims, especially as James Hardie had recently found $556 million to pay in dividends to shareholders and given pay rises to top executives, with CEO Louis Gries now earning $11.7 million a year.
ADFA president Barry Robson said the reason for the funding shortfall was because the number of Australians dying from James Hardie asbestos products was still climbing, with a particular spike in the number of cases of mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by asbestos.
"Asbestos victims don't die in instalments, they don't lose the ability work or care for themselves in instalments, yet James Hardie wants to see them compensated in that way," Mr Robson said.
"James Hardie spent decades knowingly selling these deadly products that to this day are still found in millions of homes and workplaces around Australia, leading to a growing number of home renovators and others in the community being exposed to asbestos fibres.
"The death toll from those products is still rising, with more Australians now dying each year from asbestos related diseases than the total number who die on the roads.
"These diseases are particularly devastating and require costly medical care."
Mr Robson said the rise in the number of Australian's being diagnosed with asbestos related diseases made any potential funding shortfall even more concerning.
"We will be working with the NSW Government, unions, community organisations and other supporters - just as we did ten years ago - to fight for justice for every single victim of James Hardie asbestos products," he said.
"If James Hardie can find half a billion dollars to hand over to shareholders, and $11 million a year just for their CEO, surely they have an obligation to ensure every victim of their deadly products is properly compensated."
"The current company only exists because of the profits made from asbestos products."
"Once again we are seeing James Hardie putting profits before the innocent victims that they failed to warn about the dangers of their products, despite knowing from the 1930s that they could kill."
"Australians were outraged by the way this company behaved 10 years ago when it tried to leave Australia without compensating victims, and we hope the community will continue to be outraged by this company's immoral behaviour and will join us in holding them to account."
For media comment please call ADFA President Barry Robson on 0407 235 685
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Mr Fluffy clean-up puts brakes on infrastructure projects
Friday, 12th September 2014
The ACT government will shelve or delay major infrastructure projects announced in the June budget as it prepares for a $300 million clean-up bill for Canberra's Mr Fluffy asbestos homes.
Large parts of the $2.5 billion infrastructure package announced by Treasurer Andrew Barr will be significantly delayed, including the City to the Lake development, a new city sports stadium and a new national convention centre, with money reallocated for likely buybacks and remediation of 1000 properties in the ACT.
As the Commonwealth announced a heightening of Australia's terror alert levels on Friday, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher told The Canberra Times her government's priorities remained health and education funding, as well as the planned light rail line to Gungahlin.
Cabinet has agreed the fourth priority for the coming five years should be the demolition or remediation of homes with the toxic loose-fill asbestos, but Ms Gallagher stressed negotiations over cost and expert advice were ongoing with Employment Minister Eric Abetz.
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