The release of the SHOAMP Health Study
The Minister for Defence Robert Hill today welcomed the release of the General Health and Medical Study report, Phase III of the Study of Health Outcomes in Aircraft Maintenance Personnel (SHOAMP) by the Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Angus Houston.
Senator Robert Hill said the findings of the study would help answer long standing questions concerning the health of a number of personnel involved in the Australian Air Force’s F-111 Deseal/Reseal (DSRS) programs.
"Completion of the General Health and Medical Study is the conclusion of an extensive and comprehensive undertaking by the Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs," Senator Hill said.
"Lessons learnt from the F-111 DSRS Board of Inquiry and the subsequent health studies have paved the way for ongoing monitoring and improvements in the management of our health and safety practices and the way we look after our people.
"The recommendations made in 2001 as part of the BOI have influenced and brought about significant changes, not only in the Air Force but also across the wider ADF."
Senator Hill said the Government will examine all aspects of the SHOAMP reports and will respond as soon as possible.
"Personnel involved in the study, and those whose health has been affected by their service, can be assured that the Australian Government maintains its commitment to meeting the health and safety needs of all Defence personnel, past and present," Senator Hill said.
December 2004 Release
The Minister for Defence, Senator Robert Hill and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Mrs De-Anne Kelly, today announced that the Government has considered the outcomes of the Study of Health Outcomes in Aircraft Maintenance Personnel (SHOAMP) report and has recognised the special nature of the circumstances of those whose health has been adversely affected as a result of their workplace environment.
The Government has agreed to offer a lump sum benefit to those who have suffered exposure. It is proposed that the benefit not distinguish between military, public servants or civilians. The lump sum benefit would be in addition to the rights of individuals under the various State and Commonwealth compensation schemes.
Additionally, the Government will make funds available to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide a cancer and health screening and disease prevention program.
"The planned package represents a significant undertaking by the Government, and is the result of a long and comprehensive consideration of the health impacts on the many people involved in the Deseal/Reseal programs," the Ministers said.
"The Government maintains its commitment to helping those personnel whose health has been affected by their service and work with the ADF."
"Lessons learnt from the F-111 DSRS Board of Inquiry and the subsequent health studies have paved the way for ongoing monitoring and improvements in the management of our health and safety practices."
Senator Hill and Mrs Kelly thanked all who participated in the SHOAMP study for their valuable time, efforts and patience, as well as those responsible for the study’s completion—the Department of Defence, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Scientific Advisory Committee and the University of Newcastle Research Associates.
The development of the arrangements to give effect to the proposed lump sum payment scheme is a priority for the Government. Details will be released as soon as possible.
Note: The announcement regarding these payments was made on 19th September 2005 - 11 months later - I'd hate to see how long it takes this goverment to make a decision on an issue that isn't a priority!
Lump Sum Payment announcement
The Federal Government has agreed to provide a $21 million lump sum payment package to personnel who participated in F-111 Deseal/Reseal work for the Australian Defence Force, Defence Minister Robert Hill, and Veterans’ Affairs Minister De-Anne Kelly announced today.
The package is in response to the Study of Health Outcomes in Aircraft Maintenance Personnel (SHOAMP) and recognises that those people who participated in F-111 Deseal/Reseal work experienced a unique working environment.
"Under the scheme, ex-gratia lump sum payments of $40 000 or $10 000 will be paid to F-111 Deseal/Reseal eligible participants, following the Government’s acceptance of the SHOAMP findings announced in December 2004," Senator Hill said.
"The lump sum payments are in addition to any compensation that may be available to individuals under statutory workers’ compensation schemes and will not differentiate between military personnel, public servants or contractors.
"I would encourage anyone who believes they have a work related injury or disease to test their possible eligibility by applying for these entitlements."
Veterans’ Affairs Minister De-Anne Kelly said the ex-gratia payments, along with access to existing workers’ compensation entitlements, health care support and an ongoing Cancer and Health Screening and Disease Prevention Program, represented a significant commitment by the Government.
"The SHOAMP Health Care Scheme will be available for those people who have lodged a claim for compensation with either the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or their statutory workers’ compensation scheme," Mrs Kelly said.
"This new Health Care Scheme will begin on 19 August and will replace the Interim Health Care Scheme, which ran for the duration of the SHOAMP study."
Mrs Kelly said anyone who had lodged a compensation claim, and was currently registered with the Interim Health Care Scheme, would automatically transfer to the new Health Care Scheme delivered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).
"The SHOAMP Health Care scheme will close to applicants from 20 September 2005. I urge anyone who believes they may be eligible to claim for a particular health condition to submit a compensation claim and to register for the new scheme as soon as possible.
"DVA will also provide a Cancer and Health Screening and Disease Prevention Program. This program aims to improve the future health and lifestyle of F-111 Deseal/Reseal participants by assisting in the early detection of conditions that may be linked to their participation in Deseal/Reseal activities," Mrs Kelly said.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs will contact anyone who had submitted a compensation claim, or who was registered with the Interim Health Care Scheme, to provide further information about testing their eligibility for the lump sum payment, the SHOAMP Health Care Scheme or the Cancer and Health Screening and Disease Prevention Program.