Premier Will Hodgman grilled over chemical exposure liability

Premier Will Hodgman will not reveal the potential liability resulting from former Hydro-Electric Commision employees' exposure to toxic chemicals between the 1960s and 1980s.

TasNetworks is speaking with about 50 former employees about potential exposure to the herbicide 2,4,5-T as part of a working group on the issue with the state government and WorkSafe Tasmania.

Tasmanian State Service employees are also included in this group.


Under questioning from Labor finance spokesman Scott Bacon about the size of liability in a budget estimates hearing on Monday, Mr Hodgman said "I am not able to advise you of that".

When asked whether consideration had been given to transfer legal liability on the matter from TasNetworks to the crown, Mr Hodgman said "no, I'm not able to say that that is so".

"It is a very serious matter and the government is determined to do all we can to assist any worker affected, or any worker who may feel that they may have been affected through their work and any exposure to herbicides," Mr Hodgman said.

While Mr Hodgman told Mr Bacon TasNetworks was "in direct contact with all of the people that it currently knows of who may have come into contact with herbicide at the time", he said an initial review of Tasmanian State Service files "indicates no record of any claim by an employee".

"...we do want to continue to monitor the situation with stakeholders as part of our duty of care to all past and present employees," he said.

Mr Bacon also asked if a cabinet minute had been prepared around the chemical exposure issue.

"I am prepared to say that the matter has been considered by cabinet on more than one occasion and at length," Mr Hodgman said.

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