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Transcript 17369

Loan agreement to give certainty to asbestos victims

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 07/12/2010

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 17369

The Gillard Labor Government has today signed a loan agreement drawn up with the NSW Government to ensure asbestos victims and their families continue to receive payments through the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund (AICF).

The Prime Minister said the Gillard Labor Government would provide up to $160 million to the NSW Government to give victims of asbestos-related diseases and their families the peace of mind and financial security they deserve.

Under the agreement, the NSW Government will contribute an equal amount in funding to the AICF each time they draw down from the Federal loan.

The AICF was established following a 2005 agreement between the NSW Government and James Hardie Industries N.V to compensate people who have made legitimate asbestos-related claims against the company in Australia.

Without the loan agreement, the AICF had advised that asbestos compensation claims would have been rationed and paid in instalments, with some victims facing the prospect of not living long enough to receive their full compensation.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer David Bradbury said the loan agreement did not excuse James Hardie from its legal or moral obligation to contribute to the AICF.

The Federal Government expects the company to continue to fund the AICF as its financial position improves.

The funds advanced to the NSW Government are to be repaid to the Commonwealth by 30 June 2020. Interest will be payable on the loan at a rate equivalent to the Commonwealth's cost of borrowing.

The loan agreement follows through on the commitments made by the Commonwealth and NSW Governments in the Heads of Agreement signed last year.

Transcript 17369