Some states and territories have special government compensation schemes for people who develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. These schemes usually apply only if you have been exposed to asbestos during your employment.
The authorities for Australia’s asbestos compensation schemes are:
- ACT – WorkSafe ACT, call 02 6207 3000 or visit worksafe.act.gov.au
- NSW – Dust Diseases Authority, also known as icare dust diseases care, call 02 8223 6600 or visit icare.nsw.gov.au
- NT – NT WorkSafe, call 1800 019 115 or visit worksafe.nt.gov.au
- QLD – WorkCover Queensland, call 1300 362 128 or visit worksafe.qld.gov.au
- SA – ReturnToWorkSA, call 13 18 55 or visit rtwsa.com
- TAS – WorkSafe Tasmania, call 1300 366 322 or visit worksafe.tas.gov.au
- VIC – WorkSafe Victoria, call 1800 136 089 or visit worksafe.vic.gov.au
- WA – Your employer’s insurer or if unknown, Insurance Commission of Western Australia, call 08 9264 3333 or visit icwa.wa.gov.au
- Commonwealth – Comcare, call 1300 366 979 or visit comcare.gov.au.
Do I need a lawyer?
It is possible for you and sometimes your dependants to lodge a statutory claim directly with the authority in your state or territory. However, most people with mesothelioma prefer to use a lawyer to arrange all their claims.
The laws around Australia vary and can be complex. Some people may be entitled to bring a common law claim instead of, or in addition to, a statutory claim. It is vital to consult an expert asbestos lawyer before applying for statutory benefits to ensure you aren’t excluded from also claiming common law compensation.
Using an expert asbestos lawyer will allow you to access all your entitlements while concentrating on your health and spending time on the things that are important to you.
Advance care planning
It is also worth seeking the advice of a lawyer to ensure your will is up to date and that your intentions for your estate are clear.
You may wish to arrange legal documents appointing a substitute decision-maker. Depending on where you live, the documents for appointing this person may be known as an enduring power of attorney, enduring power of guardianship, or appointment of an enduring guardian. You can also outline your wishes for your future medical care in an advance care directive. These documents are part of advance care planning.
Cancer Council offers a Legal Referral Service that can help with wills and advance care planning, and assistance is free for eligible clients. Call 13 11 20 to find out more.