National law firm Slater and Gordon has welcomed the release today of a report by the NSW Ombudsman which calls for additional funding, new laws and improved asbestos management in NSW.
Ms Joanne Wade, senior asbestos lawyer with Slater and Gordon, said Mr Bruce Barbour’s report is a significant contribution to the ongoing debate about the future management of asbestos liabilities in Australia.
“The Ombudsman has pointed to a lack of a single government agency responsible for coordinating the management and containment of asbestos in NSW,” Ms Wade said.
“He has also drawn attention to the fact there is no state-wide Government plan for dealing with asbestos and that there are gaps in asbestos legislation.
“Importantly, Mr Barber has found there is inadequate funding to deal with these issues” she said.
Ms Wade said Slater and Gordon joins with asbestos groups such as the Bernie Banton Foundation and calls on the Government to immediately accept and implement the Ombudsman’s recommendation, particularly the establishment of a well funded Asbestos Coordination Authority.
“This would be a truly important initiative that would send a clear message to both asbestos victims and the companies responsible for compensation that the Government is still committed to fighting for justice,” Ms Wade said.
“NSW has led the way in winning compensation for the victims of asbestos diseases and has been responsible for holding companies like James Hardie to account.
“By fully accepting the recommendations made in this important report the Government has a chance to once again demonstrate its continued commitment to cause of asbestos victims,” Ms Wade said.
Slater and Gordon conducted the first successful common law asbestos litigation case in 1984 and has acted for thousands of people exposed to and diagnosed with an asbestos related disease.