James Hardie and the ACTU are to continue negotiations following a NSW Supreme Court decision today to adjourn the asbestos compensation body liquidation hearing.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet has welcomed today’s decision of the NSW Supreme
Court to adjourn an application by the Medical Research and Compensation
Foundation (MRCF) for the appointment of a provisional liquidator until January
31, 2005.

The ACTU had argued before the Court that the hearing of the application for
provisional liquidation by the MRCF should be adjourned to allow the ACTU to
continue its negotiations with James Hardie about how the company will fund its
Australian asbestos compensation liabilities.

Greg Combet said:

“We welcome the Court’s decision to allow our negotiations with James Hardie
to continue and not at this stage appoint a provisional liquidator for the

The onus is now on James Hardie to expeditiously conclude a heads of
agreement with unions and asbestos groups that provides a long term funding
solution for its Australian asbestos liabilities.

The MRCF is the body set up by James Hardie to compensate Australian victims
of its asbestos products but has been found by a NSW Government inquiry to have
a funding shortfall of at least $1.5 billion,” said Greg Combet.