View Full Version : James Hardie "Coughs Up", bastards

02-08-2007, 03:31 AM
The long-running battle between asbestos disease victims and James Hardie is over, with shareholders of the building products maker tonight approving a $4 billion asbestos compensation deal.
Victim's advocate Bernie Banton said he was relieved the deal had been finalised, voted on in the Netherlands tonight, and urged all Australians to now get behind the company.
The agreement, which comes after six years of wrangling, paves the way for victims of asbestos-related diseases caused by products made by former James Hardie subsidiaries, to get their hands on compensation worth up to $4 billion over the next 40 years.
James Hardie chairwoman Meredith Hellicar said she was heartened and proud the overwhelming majority of shareholders had approved the plan.
"I am extremely heartened and proud that the long-term compensation proposal has won the approval of our security holders and is ready for implementation," Ms Hellicar said.
"It has been a long, complex and often difficult process but ... such an unprecedented arrangement could not be settled with a quick fix, given the fund is intended to last for 40 years and possibly longer."
The company expects to make a first payment of $184.3 million to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund (AICF) within the next five working days.
Mr Banton said he now believed this was the end of a six-year battle that they "could never afford to lose".
"It's absolute relief, to finally have got justice for all future victims," Mr Banton told AAP.
"I was always very confident that shareholders would approve this deal but I certainly wasn't going to jump the gun because there had been disappointment before."
Mr Banton, who suffers from an asbestos-related disease, has been the public face of the fight with James Hardie and the campaign to get the compensation fund.
He is now urging people to get behind the company.
"We need James Hardie to continue to grow and expand," he said.
"Without the company flourishing they won't have the funds to pay the future victims ... we've all got to move forward together."
By 2020 it was expected there would be another 53,000 people diagnosed with asbestos-related disease, he said.
Ms Hellicar said all parties involved in drawing up the compensation plan recognised it was in all stakeholders' interests that the housing materials group stay financially strong and in a position to grow its business.
The compensation deal was negotiated with the company by asbestos victims' groups, unions and the NSW government, whose support for the deal has been widespread, even though James Hardie has said it could not guarantee the package would provide enough funds to meet all long-term claims made against it.
The company reached an agreement with the Australian Taxation Office last November, allowing payments from the special purpose fund to be tax deductible.
Its investors were briefed on the deal at an extraordinary information meeting in Sydney last week.

(^taken from a news report today)

ever herd the song 'blue sky mine' by Midnight Oil ? its about a town in Western Australia that mined blue asbestos - i herd rumors that the asbestos was so thick in the air that pilots used it as a 'becon' when flying, they could see the blue from the air.

(taken from wikipedia v)

Wittenoom was named by Hancock after Frank Wittenoom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Wittenoom) (1855-1939) who was his partner in the nearby Mulga Downs Station. The land around Wittenoom was originally settled by Frank Wittenoom's brother, politician Sir Edward Horne Wittenoom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Wittenoom).
Lang Hancock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lang_Hancock) discovered Wittenoom Gorge in the early 1930s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1930s) and in 1937 started mining blue asbestos (crocidolite) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocidolite) there. In 1943 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1943) the mine was sold to a CSR Limited (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CSR_Limited) subsidiary, Australian Blue Asbestos Pty Ltd. By the late 1940s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940s) there was a need for a nearby townsite to house the mine workers and their families, and this was gazetted in 1950 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1950). The following year CSR requested the town name be changed to Wittenoom Gorge, and in 1974 it was changed back to Wittenoom.
From 1950 until the early 1960s Wittenoom was Australia's only supplier of asbestos with 161,000 tonnes being mined. During that time 20,000 men, women and children lived and worked in Wittenoom. Since then, over 1,000 people have died from asbestos-related diseases including asbestosis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbestosis), lung cancer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lung_cancer) and mesothelioma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesothelioma). The National Health and Medical Research Council (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Health_and_Medical_Research_Council) estimates that the final death toll will eventually rise to over 2,000.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wittenoom%2C_Western_Australia#_note-0)
Despite ongoing risks associated with airborne asbestos fibres, around 20-25 residents still remained in early 2006, defying the Government of Western Australia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_Western_Australia)'s removal of services and stated intention to demolish the town. The old school and post office was reportedly being used by residents as a meeting place, while a caravan park accommodates visitors, a gem shop functions as a tourist agency, and some tour buses still visit, although this is strongly discouraged by the state's Tourism Commission. On 30 June (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_30) 2006 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006), the Government turned off the power grid to Wittenoom. However, no residents left the town, or took up the government's offer to buy their houses for up to A$39,804.
In December 2006 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_2006), Minister for the Pilbara Jon Ford announced that Wittenoom's status as a town would be removed, but that the town's six remaining residents would be allowed to stay[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wittenoom%2C_Western_Australia#_note-abcnews).
Wittenoom is close to a number of spectacular gorges in the Hamersley Ranges (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamersley_Range) and Karijini National Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karijini_National_Park).
The Midnight Oil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_Oil) song, Blue Sky Mine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Sky_Mining), was inspired by the town and its mining industry

02-09-2007, 02:55 PM
So, basically, now that they claim all this compensation money back as tax, they're all good to pay it? Now that it costs them nothing? After how many people have died from the shit and got squat? But we have to support James Hardie so that they have enough money to pay to this fund now, or we're ripping-off all the people dying of asbestos related diseases that they caused?

This is disgusting. Legal corporate extortion even.