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Centralized management of asbestos claims.



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Hon Kevin Andrews MP

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service 11 October, 2005

Media Release

287/05

Centralized Management Of Asbestos Claims

Federal Parliament has passed the Asbestos related claims (Management of Commonwealth Liabilities) Bill 2005.

The legislation will allow Comcare to manage all asbestos related claims brought at common law against the

Government. It will achieve this by transferring liability for such claims from the Commonwealth and

Commonwealth authorities to Comcare.

The centralisation of asbestos claims made against the Commonwealth will provide a more streamlined approach,

more consistent decision-making and more equitable and efficient outcomes.

The long latency period for asbestos diseases justifies special consideration for the management of resulting personal

injury claims.

A centralised approach will:

z help ensure consistency in management of the Commonwealth’s asbestos related disease liabilities;

z offer a single point of contact for statutory and common law claimants;

z facilitate better management of the process overall, potentially reducing settlement expenses and other legal

costs resulting from efficiencies of centralised processing; z facilitate prompt settlement which is important for litigants close to death;

z foster a better understanding of the nature of claims; and

z provide more transparency about the costs of asbestos claims.

Apart from claims in relation to Commonwealth employees, Comcare will have authority to manage common law

claims against the Government by contractors, tenants and bystanders.

Comcare will also have the authority to manage claims from former waterside workers whose asbestos claims are

currently managed by the Stevedoring Industry Finance Committee.

For further information contact:

Russ Street 0417 044 712