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Notice given 30 August 2001

3863  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs—With reference to the nominal roll prepared for the cancer incidence and mortality study of British nuclear weapons testing personnel:

(1) Is it the case that, of the 8 590 civilians identified on the nominal roll, some had left the range before any weapon was fired; if so, how many civilians were in this category and why are they to be included in the study.

(2) Why is it that the study will not cover non-cancerous, auto-immune system, genetic or psychiatric/anxiety outcomes.

(3) Has the Minister responded to the submission made by the Nuclear Veterans to the Consultative Forum (NVCF) explaining some of the study problems; if so, can a copy be provided; if not, why not.

(4) Will the study be modified in light of that submission; if so, how; if not, why not.

(5) What is the latest estimated date of completion of the study.

(6) Has the Minister considered the recommendations of the NVCF that, as an interim measure and to partly compensate for the long delays in establishing the study, immediate action is undertaken to provide:

(i) health coverage for surviving test participants (equivalent to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs ‘Gold Card’),

(ii) coverage for widows (equivalent to war widows), and

(iii) welfare officers to assist veterans, widows and descendants gain access to information relevant to their individual cases.

(7) In a letter addressed to Senator Allison dated 21 August 2001, the Minister said, ‘This protocol will need careful consideration of the Scientific Advisory Committee and then referral to relevant ethics committees and the Consultative Forum which has been established’: Does this mean that the methodological and statistical issues will be resolved before the funds are committed to the study.

(8) What is the likely date by which these issues will be resolved.

(9) Have each of the recommendations made by Professor Kaldor in his report on study methodology, dated July 1999, been adopted; if not, why not.

(10) Will the Minister also evaluate the results of the radiobiological pilot studies in New Zealand before committing funds to the mortality study.