Former employees of an Australian housing material company are to receive a share of a AUS$4 billion (£1.59 billion) compensation payout, after contracting asbestos-related illnesses.
James Hardie Industries has contributed a first payment of AUS$184.3 million to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund, which will process personal injury claims from the company's former employees.
Many former workers came into regular contact with asbestos while working at the company, and now suffer from a range of illnesses including chronic lung disease as a result.
Asbestos was widely used up until the 1980s in a variety of construction and insulation products, before it was found to be harmful to humans.
Speaking to Australian Associated Press, James Hardie's chairwoman Meredith Hellicar said that she was pleased that the fund could now begin making compensation payouts.
"Like many, we have been looking forward to making this a reality for a long time," she said.
"I'm sure this viewpoint will be shared by the many stakeholders who have worked with us to finalise the funding arrangements."