Sunday, May 18, 2008

Vets expecting Agent Orange cover-up

The Vietnam Veterans Association doubts the Defence Department will respond meaningfully to claims Agent Orange was tested near Innisfail, in far north Queensland, in the 1960s.

Local resident Ted Bosworth says he drove military scientists to a spot near Gregory Falls, east of Innisfail, in 1966 so they could test the toxic defoliant.

The Veterans Association's Queensland president Brett Bullians says residents should not hold their breath waiting for a response from the Defence Department.

"Every time we bring up something like this, or any evidence comes out, they'll say we'll do a survey on it and of course that takes another three, four or five years," he said.

"By the time we get everything out and a real apology comes out we'll all be dead so they won't have to worry about it."

Innisfail Mayor Bill Shannon says he is worried that the possible testing is linked to a high rate of cancer cases in the town.

Queensland Health has rejected claims of a higher cancer rate, saying cases in Innisfail are only 0.1 per cent higher than in the rest of the state.

The Defence Department says it is considering the claims but is unable to comment yet.


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