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Asbestos deal 'a step closer'

Jun 29, 2006 | www.theadvertiser.news.com.au

Asbestos victims are closer to receiving justice after a tax office ruling allowing James Hardie to tax-deduct payments to its compensation fund, ACTU secretary Greg Combet says.

Hardie said tonight it had been advised by the tax office that payments to its special purpose fund to compensate asbestos victims would be tax deductible.

The decision follows last week's adverse tax ruling refusing the compensation fund charity tax status.

Hardie says tonight's ruling does not go far enough to ensuring it can honour last year's historic compensation deal, and has called on the tax office to reverse last week's decision.

Mr Combet, who played a leading role in negotiating last year's agreement to compensate asbestos victims, tonight welcomed the latest ruling on tax deductions.

"It's a step forward, so we're certainly closer to nailing this deal down," he said.

"But the full impact of this ruling, plus the earlier ruling that went against the deal, needs to be examined in combination.

"The advice I've received is that the negative ruling (last week) could nullify the effect of the second ruling.

"But it means that we're a step closer, and we will nail this thing down."

Mr Combet said it would be up to tax experts to assess the full effect of tonight's ruling.


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