Urgent consultation needed on abolition of NSW Dust Diseases Board

5 August 2015
Law firm Maurice Blackburn, which represents people suffering from asbestos and dust diseases, has called on the NSW Government to undertake urgent consultation over its decision to abolish the Dust Diseases Board.

Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet yesterday announced the board – which provides compensation and support to NSW workers exposed to dust diseases – would be wound up and replaced with an Insurance and Care Board.

While the Government said it would not result in cuts to victims’ benefits, Theodora Ahilas, the head of Maurice Blackburn’s asbestos and dust diseases practice, said victims and their families would be deeply concerned about the impact of the changes.

“It is disappointing that the NSW Government would make this announcement without proper consultation with those who are most affected – victims of asbestos and dust diseases and their families,” Ms Ahilas said.

“The Government needs to talk to victims, their families and their advocates to explain what measures will be put into place to ensure people with asbestos and dust diseases are given appropriate care and support.

“In our experience, general programs to support injured workers do not offer the timely and specialist support that is needed for victims of asbestos and dust diseases, some who may have as little as a month to live after diagnosis.

“Sufferers of asbestos and dust diseases are going through enough in dealing with their illness and diagnosis. They don’t need surprise announcements like this to add to their stress.”

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