September 26, 2002 - Greens (WA) Member for Mining and Pastoral Robin Chapple MLC this morning congratulated Agriculture Minister Kim Chance for finally tabling the ‘Kimberley Chemical Use Review' by Dr. Andrew Harper into herbicide spraying in the Kimberley, but is shocked by the weak Government response.

“It has taken the Government more than four months to prepare a response to the report,' Mr Chapple said. “A number of former workers have died in that time, and many more are seriously ill.'

It appears that in those four months the Government has decided to dodge Dr. Harper's recommendations relating to compensation, dioxin exposure as the cause of illness, and medical assistance for affected workers. These recommendations have been referred to another expert panel, which may take several more months to evaluate the Harper Report.

“How many more people are going to die before the Government faces up to what happened?' Mr Chapple asked. “In January of this year we called for a full Judicial Inquiry into the matter, and were told this would have to wait until Dr. Harper delivered his findings. We now have a smoking gun. It is imperative that alongside immediate health assistance and compensation to be supplied to the workers, the Government initiate a full inquiry into the statewide consequences of these findings.'

“This Government is the first in decades to take a proper look at the issue, and in my opinion the Harper review looks to be a thorough and important addition to the body of knowledge of the subject,' Mr Chapple said. “The Government has all the information it needs to act on claims that have been made consistently by former workers: that their exposure to chemicals supplied by a Government agency has killed and injured scores of workers and others exposed to the chemicals.'

“We will be supporting the former workers in their push for justice to be done, and we will not accept any further delays along the way.'

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