There is renewed calls this month from politicians in Western Australia to bring the state’s asbestos compensation laws in line with the rest of the country, in particular those in New South Wales.
The state currently has the highest number of asbestos-related deaths in the country, with an estimated 250 West Australians dying each year.
According the WA today, in the 48 years between 1960 and 2008 more than 1,600 people in WA developed mesothelioma.
The Asbestos Diseases Compensation Bill 2013 is a private members bill which would let those diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases the opportunity to seek extra compensation.
At the moment, the law says people who have received exposure compensation can’t claim additional financial support for cancers or mesothelioma that develop later.
The bill’s author, Upper House member Kate Doust speaking to WA today said the current laws did not go far enough.
“What this bill would seek to do is allow at a later stage they can actually go back and seek additional compensation,” Ms Doust said.
It would also cover people who have been exposed while caring for another person such as a child or an elderly family member, who are not currently covered.
There are concerns the West Australian government will block the bill after comments made by WA Attorney General Michael Mischin.
“While I acknowledge Hon. Kate Doust’s efforts in introducing the bill, it regrettably, cannot be supported by government as the drafting is unsatisfactory in a variety of respects,” Mr Mischin said.
“Even if key elements of the bill were supported by government, the detail and implications of those elements should be further considered, with appropriate stakeholders, to ensure that it does not work against those whom the bill is intended to help. This important issue is one that I would like to explore further with my department.”
Despite the concerns, Minister Doust remains supportive to victims who wish to make abasbestosis claims.
“How much more time do we want to waste on the semantics? Let’s give some comfort to these people. At the end of the day, WA people deserve a better outcome and legislation that provides better compensation and support,” she said.
“Why would WA be left behind the rest of the country?”
Asbestos claims in NSW
Under New South Wales law, you are entitled to claim compensation on many dust-related conditions including asbestos and mesothelioma. The claim can be made irrelevant of the time of exposure. It could be yesterday or 30 years ago.
For more information, get in touch with the compensation lawyers at Gerard Malouf Partners today.