A Slater and Gordon lawyer is calling on the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund, the NSW State Government and James Hardie to urgently determine a resolution after an ASX announcement today indicated that asbestos victims may have their compensation from the James Hardie Industries asbestos fund paid in instalments.
Today James Hardie indicated that the AICF had foreseen a shortfall in its ability to fund asbestos claims and that it would seek NSW Supreme Court approval of an Approved Payment Scheme which would see some payments for victims of asbestos diseases paid in instalments over the period of the scheme rather than in a lump sum form.
Senior asbestos lawyer Tim Gauci said the firm was deeply concerned about the AICF proposal and the impact that it would have on asbestos victims battling asbestos related illnesses.
“This proposal could see victims receive their compensation payments received as instalments rather than in a lump sum which would have dire consequences for victims,” Mr Gauci said.
“We call on the AICF, James Hardie and the NSW Government to urgently consult with all relevant stakeholders to provide more information about why they feel this action is necessary.
“Before this proposal can even be considered, all options should be put on the table to ensure that the interests of victims are put first.
“The AICF was set up to provide asbestos victims with compensation for pain and suffering as well as loss of earnings, medical and general living expenses.
“This commitment to provide this compensation needs to be honoured.
“Any delayed payment scheme that is being proposed by the AICF should be an absolute last resort after all avenues have been exhausted.”