F-111 compo ‘too slow'
WORKERS caught up in the deseal-reseal compensation battle say the Federal Government is dragging its feet in regards to recognition of claims.
Progress had been “slow”, said Max Chambers, an advocate appointed by the Deseal Reseal Support Group to help applicants with their claims.
In May last year Treasurer Wayne Swan announced $55 million in compensation for personnel and families affected by the F-111 program at RAAF Base Amberley, covering compensation, further medical expenses and counselling.
Up to 2500 workers could have been exposed to toxic chemicals between 1977 and 2000.
Member for Blair Shayne Neumann believes compensation has been sufficient.
“Of 18 recommendations from the parliamentary inquiry in 2009, we implemented 11 of them,” he said.
“I have met with many, many people involved with the program.
“We've had ongoing discussions.
“There has always been an opportunity for compensation if someone believes that in the course of their employment they have sustained an injury.”
Mr Chambers is now suffering from prostate cancer.
“This cancer has not been in my family,” he said
“I was using chemicals on a regular basis. For two years, every day of my life, I went in the tank.
“As a corporal, I had 10 people working for me directly. Three have died.”
Support group president Geoff Curl says birth defects have been reported among some families of the 860 members.
“Not only has the government decided to ignore the health of the servicemen and women exposed to the litany of chemicals, they have also basically refused to discuss meaningful compensation to those involved,” he said.
The Federal Government has recently announced a study into the health implications of working with aviation turbine fuels and F-111 deseal reseal agents.