The ACTU and unions will join with asbestos victims and support groups this week to carry out activities and events highlighting the dangers of asbestos as part of National Asbestos Awareness Week (Nov 22-28, 2004). See list of activities overleaf.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“The ACTU believes more can be done to raise awareness about the dangers of
handling and disposing asbestos products and to protect the community from
exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos is a deadly product that riddles many of Australia’s older

Residential homes built in the 1970s or before and many older workplaces are
especially affected.

Despite recent media attention on the attempts by the James Hardie company to
avoid fully compensating victims of its deadly asbestos products there is still
a poor level of awareness of the dangers of asbestos in the broader Australian

Australia has the highest per capita incidence of mesothelioma (a cancer
caused by exposure to asbestos) in the world with more than 500 people a year
contracting the disease.

Mesothelioma causes extreme pain and breathlessness as the tumour crushes the
lung. There are no cures and it is inevitably fatal within about 12 months of

For each diagnosed case of mesothelioma, research shows there are two
additional cases of asbestos-related lung cancer and non-malignant
asbestos-related disease.

The ACTU believes all levels of government should work with unions and
asbestos victims groups to protect the community and workers from potential
future exposure to asbestos.”

Media Contact: Susannah Greenleaf 0418 479 455

  • National Asbestos Awareness Week
    Monday 22 Nov – Sunday 28 Nov
  • National Asbestos Awareness Day
    Friday 26 November 2004
  • NSW

    Launch of Asbestos Awareness Week

    10 am Monday 22 November

    Darling Harbour (near Entertainment Centre)

  • John Della Bosca, NSW Minister for Workplace Relations
  • Ella Sweeney, Asbestos Diseases Foundation Ph: 02 9637 8759
  • National Asbestos Awareness Day

    Friday 26th November – 10am -3pm

    Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour

  • Opened by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of
  • Media Contacts NSW

  • Australian Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia (based in
    Phone: 1800 006 196 – Ph: 02 9637 8759
  • AMWU NSW – Paul Bastion ph 02 9897 2011
  • CFMEU – Lindsay Fraser Mob: 0419 493 290
  • Victoria

    Inter-faith Commemoration

    Friday 26th November – 12:30pm – 1:15pm

    Officiated by Bishop Philip Huggins

    The Edge Theatre, Federation Square

    Media Contacts VIC

  • Jane Staley, Asbestos Diseases Society of Victoria – Ph: 03 9639 4451
  • Victorian Trades Hall Council, Andrea Maksimovic Phone : 61 3 9659
  • Gippsland

    11am, Friday 26th Nov

    Asbestos Awareness Day Commemorative Service & picnic in the park after,
    Rose Garden, Morwell. With Peter McGauran (Federal Member) and Brendan Jenkins
    (State Member)

    Contact: Vicki Hamilton, Gippsland Asbestos Related Diseases Support – ph
    0407 274 173

    Western Australia

    Contact: Robert Vojakovic, Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia (WA) ph 08
    9344 4077


    11am – 11:45 Friday 26th Nov

    Ecumenical Service, St Stephens Cathedral, Brisbane

    Media Contacts:

  • Nick Bos, Queensland Asbestos Related Diseases Support Society
    Mob: 0417
    705 534
  • Tanya Reeves – QLD Council of Unions – ph 0418 700 419
  • South Australia

    12 noon – Sunday 28 November 2004

    Asbestos Victim Memorial Service,

    Jack Watkins Park – Churchill Road, Kilburn (near bus stop 19)

    6pm – 8pm – Monday 29th November 2004

    Public Forum on James Hardie

    Adelaide Town Hall, Old Methodist meeting Hall, King William Street,

    Media Contact: Janet Giles, Unions SA ph : 8212 3155