Lung Bus makes a second run
By TOBY WALKER
BARYULGIL residents and former employees of the asbestos mine formerly owned by James Hardie will next week have another opportunity to undergo tests for asbestos-related illnesses.
The Dust Diseases Board's 'Lung Bus' will travel to the Clarence Valley for the second time this year to screen those who missed out during its March visit to Baryulgil.
The bus will be stationed at the Bulgarr Ngaru Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) in Bacon Street, Grafton, from Tuesday to Thursday next week.
Around 80 people are expected to turn out for the second round of testing.
The results of the x-rays and respiratory tests will provide crucial support to the individual compensation claims being considered on behalf of the Baryulgil residents by Sydney law firm Stephen Smart and Associates.
Last month James Hardie ended uncertainty about its willingness to settle the community's claims when it said it would ensure those who had lived and worked in Baryulgil could be compensated if they had contracted an asbestos-related disease.
Last week AMS CEO Gloria Strachan received detailed feedback of the 120 tests carried out by the Lung Bus during its March visit but said legal advice prevented her from discussing details of the results.
Legal representative for the Baryulgil people, Stephen Smart, said the test results would be used to support claims he hoped could be heard by the Dust Diseases Tribunal later this year.
"A large number of people were affected in one way or another by their exposure to dust on a physical and emotional level," he said.
Mr Smart said some people would need further tests, like cat scans, before their health conditions could be proved to be asbestos-related and allow their claims to go to the tribunal. It is believed the community is seeking more than $50 million in compensation from James Hardie.