To: Honourable Jim Elder MLA <deputypremier@ministerial.qld.gov.au>
Subject: Make the gene tech giants pay too!
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 10:34 AM


Dear Mr Elder

Will the Queensland Government seek similar action against the release of GMO's into the environment for which the Federal Health Minister, Dr Michael Wooldridge, has claimed that he will take personal responsibility under the regime of the Interim Office  of Gene Technology Regulator?

Sincerely,

Biohazard Action Alliance



Qld Govt plans to make tobacco giants pay
 By Political editor PETER MORLEY
 28nov99 The Sunday Mail


 THE Queensland Government is investigating United States-style court action to
 force tobacco companies to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in health costs.

 Nearly 30,000 patients are admitted to Queensland's public hospitals with
 smoking-related complaints each year, at a cost of nearly $110 million.

 Cabinet tomorrow will discuss the possibility of legal action against cigarette
 manufacturers to recoup those costs.

 Queensland Premier Peter Beattie yesterday vowed that the proceeds of any
 settlement would be poured back into the health system.

 "I give this guarantee if we do decide to take legal action and if we do win, the
 money we recover from the companies will all be spent on health," he said.

 Precedents have been set in the United States where tobacco companies have
 agreed to pay state governments $246billion compensation over 25 years. These
 successes have prompted the United States Government to begin similar action.

 Crown Law has told Mr Beattie that there is potential for Queensland to follow the
 US lead.

 "But just because something succeeds in the United States does not mean it
 automatically succeeds here," Mr Beattie said.

 "Monday's cabinet debate is only the first step we will need to take a lot more
 legal advice before court action is considered."

 Various options will be outlined to ministers in a submission jointly prepared by Mr
 Beattie and Attorney- General Matt Foley.

 This estimates that smoking imposes a $2.2billion financial burden on Queensland
 through lost production and the economic impact of premature death.

 Mr Beattie said taxpayers picked up a "horrendous" burden caused by smoking.

 "My view is that taxpayers should not have to shoulder this cost. It should be borne
 by the tobacco companies.

 "In many ways their product is more destructive to the community than hard
 drugs."

 He would "keep an eye" on Victoria, where the Bracks Government yesterday
 announced smoking would be banned in restaurants.


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