New measures to help sufferers of asbestos-related diseases Sun 5 August 2012 Brian Wightman Attorney-General The Attorney-General, Brian Wightman, today announced the State Government would make the legal process easier for sufferers of asbestos related diseases to be compensated. Mr Wightman said the Government was preparing amendments to the Limitation Act 1974 and the Civil Liability Act 2002. "These new changes will help Tasmanians get justice," Mr Wightman said. "At present, a compensation claim must be brought within three years of discoverability - which means that many people can't seek compensation, purely because they were unaware of their rights at the time. "As part of a series of reforms aimed at strengthening protection for vulnerable Tasmanians, I will be moving to allow courts to extend that timeframe by another three years." Mr Wightman said other proposed amendments to the Civil Liability Act 2002 would allow the courts to award provisional damages where a plaintiff has a claim for a dust-related disease. "This will be a significant step forward and will allow a person to make a further claim for damages if they go on to develop a different or more serious dust-related disease. "I want to ensure Tasmanians with asbestos-related illnesses can access justice simply and efficiently. "Under the current legislation, someone would have to apply to the courts to bring an action if the disease was diagnosed more than 12 years after exposure. "This is a significant hurdle for many people who suffer from dust-related diseases, as these illnesses are rarely diagnosed within 12 years of exposure. "We will also amend the Limitation Act to remove this barrier. "Through our Asbestos Compensation Scheme, we have shown we are genuinely helping people suffering from dust-related diseases." Mr Wightman said the changes would be introduced into Parliament this year.