Former Baryulgil resident Tony Mundine at Saturday?s meeting.
Former Baryulgil resident Tony Mundine at Saturday?s meeting.

Fighting spirit

By EMMA CORNFORD

COMPENSATION claims against James Hardie for Baryulgil residents with asbestos-related diseases could be made as early as October.

Around 30 community members met with Bulgarrngaru Aboriginal Medical Centre staff on Saturday to access information about lung diseases and to discuss their options.

Bulgarrngaru chief executive officer Scott Monaghan said the object of the meeting was partly to ensure people continued to have access to information.

"All too often in the past they've got to this stage in terms of compensation and then stopped getting information," Mr Monaghan said.

"We don't want the people there to lose heart so we're keeping the ball rolling ? albeit slowly."

With a number of people still to be contacted or undergo CAT scans, Mr Monaghan said the number of people with asbestos-related diseases would not be revealed, but he expected a number of people to seek compensation.

He said people at the meeting were those who had been exposed to a high level of contamination ? mostly ex-miners and their spouses.

Bulgarrngaru doctor Ray Jones and Diana Fisher from the Cancer Council also spoke at the meeting, highlighting the increased dangers of smoking for those who have been exposed to asbestos.

"There is a ninefold increase in the likelihood of developing lung-related diseases in those exposed to smoke, so that was a big issue we discussed," Mr Monaghan said.

"We had a bigger roll up than I ex- pected, actually."



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