Defence chief pledges to investigate jet fuel compensation

AAP Image - Mick Tsikas

THE Chief of the Defence Force has pledged the organisation will investigate whether a large number of veterans exposed to potentially lethal jet fuel - but ignored, until now, by the Defence hierarchy - should be compensated for their illnesses.

The ABC revealed last year that current and former Defence personnel have been exposed to toxic jet fuel over decades, and that many of them have gone on to develop serious health problems, including fatal blood cancers, depression, skin conditions and sexual dysfunction.

Although some of the comparatively small number of Defence staff who were exposed to fuel on the infamous F-111 deseal/reseal project have received compensation for illnesses they developed as a result, the far larger number of Army, RAAF and Navy personnel who also worked with fuel have received little recognition of the toll it took on their bodies.

The ABC also revealed that Defence allowed its personnel to handle fuel in unsafe ways, despite being aware of the potential dangers of exposure for many years.

In a recent letter to an Air Force veteran, seen by the ABC, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin described the issue as "complex", but said it was important that Defence consider "all fuel-exposed workers, not just former F-111 deseal/reseal maintenance personnel".

Read more at ABC News Online

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