Christmas despair for herbicide workers

December 24, 2003 - “Kill', definition of: Any person who causes the death of another, directly or indirectly, by any means whatever, is deemed to have killed that other person. ~ the WA Criminal Code, Pt V

Greens (WA) MLC Robin Chapple has condemned the Gallop Government for further delays in assisting former agricultural workers poisoned by chemical herbicides during their work for the Agricultural Protection Board.

“The Government is behaving as though they are waiting for the workers to die quietly so as not to expose the State to the threat of compensation,' said a spokesperson for Mr Chapple.

“We're now onto our fifth inquiry. Campaigners in Derby estimate three dozen dead and many more suffering long-term chemical injuries. It's been described by the Minister for Agriculture as a ‘cover-up' and by the Minister for Local Government and Regional Development as ‘evil'. And yet the surviving workers have been left with no support and their workers compensation cases have been frozen. The Government-appointed nurse appears to have no experience with chemical trauma and is functioning more as a researcher for the Health Department.'

“Workers compensation claims are meant to clear in days. Instead, insult is being added to injury as the Government piles inquiry on top of inquiry and months of waiting turns into years. All the time, people are dying.'

Mr Chapple has been advocating for a swift resolution to the issue since May 2001, calling for workers compensation cases to be heard, medical assistance provided to workers and their families, and the truth to be made public.

“I have no problem with the inquiries,' Mr Chapple said, “But refusing to help people with medical expenses and denying workers compensation in the meantime is inexcusable.'

Mr Chapple has again written to the Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Health demanding a resolution, and has pledged to make it a defining election issue for the Kimberley.

Go to top