James Hardie reduces annual Asbestos Compensation Fund contribution by over $38 million

Asbestos Victims in Australia have cause to be concerned by the 44% reduction in annual James Hardie contribution to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund.

While the company has fulfilled its obligation to pay 35% of its free cash flow to the Fund, the contribution amount has significantly lessened due to the company experiencing a downgraded financial forecast for this year.

The contribution by James Hardie to the Fund was $81.1 million for the  2014-2015 financial year. This is a sharp reduction from the amount paid the previous financial year of $119.9 million.

At this stage there is no indication how this will the Fund in the long term, however the news has raised concern amongst victims of asbestos related diseases who were instrumental in fighting for James Hardie to be held to account and the Fund to be established.

No amount of compensation will ever restore the health of sufferers of asbestos related diseases, nor will money ever bring a loved one back who has died from an asbestos related condition. But a diagnosis with an asbestos related condition, such as deadly mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis, cause fear, angst, grief and heartache for not only the patient, but their family, friends and community.  Compensation may not give back life or good health but it does provide security to patients to obtain medical treatment, care and access best available treatments.  The financial viability of the Fund is paramount to ensure patients and their families are adequately and fairly compensated to have the best quality of life and financial security for themselves and their family as their health declines.  AMAA will continue to participate in advocacy efforts with the United coalition of asbestos organisations and supportive groups to ensure victims are respected and compensated into the future.

Contact AMAA if you have any queries or concerns about this development or need guidance to discuss you are managing please telephone the AMAA information and support line on 1800 017 758.

Find more media coverage of this issue online, including:

James Hardie slashes asbestos compensation fund payments by 44 per cent – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Sydney Morning Herald – http://www.smh.com.au/business/james-hardie-cuts-asbestos-compensation-payment-by-39m-20151119-gl32r7.html