The Australian government may want to pay attention to a bill currently making its way through the UK Parliament, which would make sure mesothelioma victims who were exposed to asbestos receive higher compensation payouts.
The bill would target anyone who is affected by an asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma, asbestosis and other lung diseases. Experts say those who have these terminal illnesses are not receiving a fair amount in compensation. Currently, victims only receive 75 per cent of average compensation payouts.
One legal expert testifying before Parliament stated that although the effects of asbestos exposure sometimes take decades to set in, the results can be "devastating".
"In some situations it is impossible to find evidence of victims’ employers’ insurance records where firms have ceased to exist many years ago and many asbestos victims will be left high and dry by the technicalities in the proposals," the expert added.
He stated that mesothelioma victims have enough on their plate as it is, with the cases typically extremely complex and dating back 40 and 50 years. The best way to take care of them, advocates say, is to ensure they receive full compensation.
A problem in Australia
Considering Australia has the second highest asbestos exposure rates behind the UK, it may do the government well to implement similar changes.
According to the Newcastle Herald, asbestos is an everyday concern to people in a number of industries, ranging from home repair to transport. Just this week, large engineering firm Bradken is taking flack from the public after importing rail locomotives from China that were found to contain the deadly carcinogen.
Australian Unions said it was a "disgrace" that the country would allow these dangerous vehicles into the country, potentially exposing them to asbestos.
Michael Borowick, assistant secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, said the trains came with a certificate that assured importers they were compliant with the asbestos ban in Australia. However, it was utterly false.
"The ban was put in place almost 10 years ago for good public policy reasons because one fibre can kill," he said.
"There have only been two prosecutions since the ban was implemented and the message that sends is you can import with impunity."
Those who may have been affected by asbestos exposure are encouraged to get in touch with asbestos compensation lawyers to determine what legal action can be taken.