New centre offers hope
30 November 2007
A groundbreaking ceremony for the $12 million Asbestos Diseases Research Institute was conducted by the NSW Premier Morris Iemma on 28 November.
The institute will be operated by the Asbestos Research Foundation will be an affiliate research institute with the University of Sydney.
Based at in the education and research precinct of the Concord Repatriation General Hospital, the institute will provide early diagnosis and treatment for the victims of asbestos related diseases.
At the ceremony, Premier Iemma also named the building The Bernie Banton Centre in honour of the veteran asbestos diseases campaigner, who died yesterday after a long battle with asbestos related cancer.
Funding for the Institute has been provided jointly by the Dust Diseases Board ($7 million) and the University of Sydney ($2.9 million).
The University and the Foundation have jointly appointed Professor Nico van Zandwijk, who has been recruited from The Netherlands, as the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute's inaugural Director. Bernie Banton was a member of the selection panel and was delighted with Prof van Zandwijk's appointment.
"This major national facility will be a world's first dedicated asbestos research centre," said Mr Iemma.
"Each year there are around 350 new cases of asbestos-related disease diagnosed in New South Wales alone," said the Premier, "and I commend the many individuals who have worked long and hard to improve the lot of asbestos sufferers.
"In particular, I thank Bernie Banton, who worked tirelessly, not only to achieve appropriate compensation for sufferers and their families, but also to promote the need for more research into the prevention, early diagnosis and better treatment for victims," said Mr Iemma.
"I'm pleased to be able to be here to celebrate the leadership and courage shown by Bernie Banton," said Vice Chancellor Professor Gavin Brown. "We are delighted that the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute will benefit from the expertise and substantial funding successes of the University's ANZAC Institute."
The 2,700 sq m Bernie Banton Centre is scheduled to open in October 2008.
Contact: Jake O'Shaughnessy
Phone: +61 2 9351 4312 or 0421 617 861