Baryulgil community can get compo: Hardie

ALL legitimate proven claims against embattled building products firm James Hardie, including those from Baryulgil residents, would be covered by a special purpose fund, the company said yesterday.

Sydney law firm Stephen Smart and Associates is assembling possible actions on behalf of the residents of Baryulgil, west of Grafton, which is seeking more than $50 million in compensation for victims who worked in an asbes- tos mine the company owned there from 1944-76.

James Hardie yesterday denied a newspaper report it would not provide access to compensation to the Baryulgil residents.

The company, victims groups, the NSW government, and the ACTU reached an inprinciple agreement in December last year for James Hardie to provide enough compensation funding for asbestos victims over the next 40 years.

The compensation is administered by the Medical Research and Compensation Foundation (MRCF).

"If any legitimate claims for compensation from members of the Baryulgil community are successfully brought against ... (former James Hardie entities) such claims will be the responsibility of those entities," James Hardie said in a statement.

The company said the funds paid to the MRCF would be available to meet all future proven claims, 'including those received from members of the Baryulgil community'.

NSW Premier Bob Carr supported the community's right to apply for compensation.

"If they're legitimate claims they deserve to be fought out in the court system and if they win in the court system then Hardie will have to pay. It's as simple as that," Mr Carr said.

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