I notice that it's something like 6 months since my last post. Those ex-workers with asbestos-related diseases are still waiting for financial compensation. Last week there was a court ruling on the "compensation packages" that has further delayed the payments:
Last Update: Sunday, June 25, 2006. 2:27pm (AEST)
Taxpayers shouldn't fund Hardie compo: Howard
....... The Australian Tax Office has ruled that a fund set up by James Hardie for asbestos victims is not a charity and will decide within the next month whether the company's contributions to the fund can be tax free.
Labor and the union movement have called on the Federal Government to step in to make sure tax concessions are offered, saying victims will miss out on compensation payments if they are not.
Mr Howard says the company should meet its obligations without burdening taxpayers.
"The principle has to be that James Hardie bears responsibility for this," Mr Howard said. ....
Certainly it's James Hardie's responsibility, but this is the likely outcome of the court's decision:
Asbestosis sufferers eye reduced payouts:
A Darwin asbestosis sufferer says a decision not to make victim compensation tax exempt means the Government could get more of his payout than he does.
....... The ATO has determined that James Hardie's Special Purpose Fund does not meet the legal requirements of a charity.
Mr Schipper says he has been told he should get nearly $200,000 compensation from the fund once legal fees are taken out.
He says taxing the payment means the Government could get more of the payout than he does.
Mr Schipper says it is a disgrace.
"I don't understand why they should be taxed - it's compensation for workers' compensation," he said.
"To tax that, I think is an absurd idea."
Mr Schipper, who was an electrician's offsider in Western Australia, needs regular doses of morphine.
"As soon as I go for a walk or do anything, I'm out of breath," he said.
"My life is no longer my life, it's just a mess."