The Federal Government has stepped in to secure the fund set up to compensate victims of James Hardie, after concerns that victims' payments could be delayed.
An unexpected downturn in Hardie’s profits has meant it has not been obligated to make payments to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund (AICF) for several years.
The Federal Government has provided a loan to the fund.
The AMWU has welcomed the move, which will ensure asbestos victims receive full compensation whilst alive.
Under the loan agreement reached between the Federal and NSW Government earlier this week, $160 million will be made available for the fund.
The fund, drawn mostly from the profits of James Hardie Industries, had been expected to exhaust its cash reserves within 12 months.
“This loan is vitally important for the financial security of asbestos victims and their families,” said AMWU National President, Paul Bastian.
“To think that some of them were to be left waiting for a rationed compensation payment whilst they died from any of the related diseases, is wrong and unjust.“
The Federal Government’s loan will ensure compensation money is not rationed and victims and their families have the opportunity to benefit fully from the fund.
“It means James Hardie remain accountable, they will continue to supply the fund. But victims and their families are not disadvantaged financially.
“It’s an important step, and one that recognises the long road ahead in responding to the needs of those exposed to this deadly fibre.
“The AMWU will never allow these people to be forgotten.”