March 18, 2003 - Around 40 former herbicide sprayers met this morning in Derby to express their extreme disappointment at the Government's approach to solving their long-standing grievances in relation to the harm suffered over their use of herbicides in the 1970s and 1980s.Robin Chapple MLC, who attended the meeting, said the workers patience had finally run out.

'I congratulate the workers for standing up for their rights as the Government ducks and weaves on the question of liability and specialist healthcare. They are extremely worried that the Government has set this new inquiry up to fail; after all this time, they're going to be told they've got some mystery disease, so sorry we couldn't prove anything.'

Meanwhile several former workers had died since the initiation of the Harper Inquiry, which provided a damning report last year and made a strong case for immediate assistance for the workers.

'Instead of help, we get another inquiry and demands to hand over medical records. It adds insult to some very serious injuries,' Mr Chapple said.

'I have encouraged the workers to keep pressing their case, but they shouldn't have to be mounting this sort of campaign. They've got better things to do than pressure the government into accepting the patently obvious.' Mr Chapple concluded that if a class action was mounted by the workers, the cost to the state would be far higher than if the workers' modest demands were met without further delay.

The meeting resolved to press the following demands:

1. A public statement by this Government that the workers were poisoned by work practices of the APB.

2. Immediate access to specialist healthcare

3. Compensation for loss of income and loss of health.

Mr Chapple reiterated that the Greens (WA) were committed to seeing a humane resolution to the scandal, before any further loss of life.

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