NSW govt gives extra support for James Hardie asbestos victims

The NSW government will provide an extra $106m to ensure James
Hardie asbestos victims receive up-front compensation payments.

AAP reports that the extra money will mean that, as
originally planned, the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund (AICF) which was
set up to compensate victims can borrow up to $320m to cover financial shortfalls.

In September last year, the AICF board told James Hardie
that it was likely to not have sufficient funds to pay out claims by 2017.

However, because of a loan cap of $214m, it seemed the
company could not borrow the full $320m.

As such, the AICF proposed an approved payment scheme to
cover the compensation claims. This would mean the company would pay money in
instalments, rather than as a lump sum.

However, the extra money form the NSW government means that will
not be necessary.

“While funding the compensation of asbestos victims is
morally the responsibility of James Hardie, we are not willing to let a
situation arise where those suffering do not get full and up-front payments,” NSW
treasurer, Andrew Constance said.

He said the money would cover victims throughout the
country, not just those residing in NSW.

Given that only 45% of James Hardie asbestos victims live in
NSW, Premier Mike Baird has requested the Commonwealth and the other states
also make contributions.

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