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Costello not serious about avoiding another James Hardie.



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Media Release Penny Wong Labor Senator for South Australia Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance and Responsibility

Wednesday, 12th October 2005

COSTELLO NOT SERIOUS ABOUT AVOIDING ANOTHER JAMES HARDIE

Peter Costello is not serious about avoiding another James Hardie fiasco, according to Senator Penny Wong, Shadow Minister for Corporate Governance and Responsibility.

Senator Wong was referring to the Government's decision to refer protections for personal injury claimants to the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC) for 'detailed consideration' instead of making a decision. The announcement was made by Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Chris Pearce today.

"Costello should have dealt with protections for personal injury claims earlier.

"It’s already a year and half since the Parliamentary Inquiry on Insolvency and over a year since the Jackson Inquiry recommended progress on personal injury protections.

"The Government has sat on these reports, and a year later all, it's done is referred the matter to yet another committee.

"This delay puts at risk compensation for workers and customers suffering from the harmful conduct or products of companies.

"During Budget Estimates, CAMAC indicated it already had significant workload.

"It could be another year before CAMAC releases a discussion paper on this let alone makes a recommendation on personal injury protections. It's just another case of the Treasurer avoiding a decision.

"The Government is showing that it is out of touch with responsible businesses.

"Responsible companies now know that they should take early action when it becomes clear that their products have unwanted side affects or problems.

"Putting aside funds earlier to deal with future liabilities rather than later is a sensible response that responsible companies should be making.

"We don't want another James Hardie and the Government should be taking action sooner rather than later on this issue."

For further information:

Nathan Fabian - 0412 128 486