ADRI HAS NOT BEEN ENDORSED BY BERNIE BANTON AM, KAREN BANTON OR THE BERNIE BANTON FOUNDATION
ADRI’s website features images of Bernie Banton AM, and Bernie’s story prominently on their home page (see the image below). This should not be misconstrued that the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute has sought endorsement or approval from the Bernie Banton Foundation or Karen Banton for this – as ADRI hasn’t!
We can only see one purpose for ADRI to do this, that is for ADRI to profit and benefit from the good name of Bernie Banton AM by giving the false impression ADRI has been endorsed by, and has the backing of the Bernie Banton Foundation.
THIS IMAGE SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS AN ENDORSEMENT OF ADRI
THIS IMAGE SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS AN ENDORSEMENT OF ADRI
Please do not make donations or bequests to ADRI for research, or otherwise, or support ADRI in anyway under the mistaken belief that the late Bernie Banton AM, Karen Banton or the Bernie Banton Foundation has endorsed ADRI.
Let us be very clear on this – the Bernie Banton Foundation has not publicly or officially endorsed ADRI, its research, its practices, or any of its various other non-research related pursuits. Importantly, ADRI is using Bernie’s image without seeking permission – had they asked, their request would have been considered in the context of, ‘Have ADRI conducted themselves in a fitting manner to meet Bernie’s expectations and hence deserve the backing of the foundation established in his honour, and to uphold his beliefs?’
Should you wish to donate to mesothelioma research, we can put you in contact with world leading Australian researchers in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria who are doing amazing work. Alternatively, we can donate directly to this credible mesothelioma research on your behalf. For further information contact Rod Smith, the Bernie Banton Foundation Support Co-ordinator on 0418 319 757 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sadly since October 2010, some power brokers at ADRI have chosen (for unknown and unstated reasons) for ADRI not to have any association or link of any kind with the Bernie Banton Foundation – this is despite repeated approaches by the Foundation directly to those concerned, and via official ADRI channels, to find out why those responsible have adopted this noninclusive stance; and importantly to find a cohesive pathway forward. This disappointing standpoint is frankly baffling, it is divisive and we believe regressive to the cause.
Bernie Banton AM, as the acknowledged public face and voice of asbestos disease victims, lobbied the then NSW Government to establish a dedicated asbestos diseases research institute and build a purpose built facility to house it. The institute was established in 2006 and named the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI). The purpose built building was built and named the Bernie Banton Centre, with Karen Banton being present for the ‘turning of the sod’, the day after Bernie died.
Bernie Banton AM was on the Committee that selected and recruited ADRI’s first Director, Professor Nico van Zandwijk, in 2007 – an appointment he took up on 29 July 2008 and reigned over until the 31st of January 2017. Both the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) and the Bernie Banton Centre, were officially opened in January 2009 by the then Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd. At the opening, Karen Banton donated and presented a framed photo of Bernie to adorn the Bernie Banton Centre Boardroom and presented the shovel used to ‘turn the sod’ at commencement of construction – both still have pride of place in the ADRI Boardroom.
After Bernie’s death, Karen Banton continued to be supportive, and was directly responsible for donations totaling many tens of thousands of dollars being made to ADRI. Due to history, and Bernie Banton’s involvement in ADRI and the Bernie Banton Centre coming to fruition, Karen Banton elected to have the Bernie Banton Foundation launched at the Bernie Banton Centre, by Prime Minister Rudd, on the 11th September 2009. In October 2010, Karen oversaw the Foundation making a generous donation to ADRI towards furthering research into finding a cure for malignant mesothelioma.
WORKING IN COLLABORATION
The Bernie Banton Foundation has an inclusive open door policy towards all creditable organisations conducting research into asbestos related disease; and those who offer genuine support to asbestos disease sufferers and their loved ones; and as such works closely with many organisations across Australia and internationally. This is hardly surprising, given the Foundation’s founding Board Member is Winthrop Professor Bruce WS Robinson AM, perhaps the world’s preeminent researcher in the field of asbestos related disease, and Director of the world’s first and largest asbestos disease research organisation, Australia’s National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD) based in Perth West Australia. You can read more about NCARD, and its researchers, on NCARD’s own website.
Furthering the Foundation’s connection to asbestos disease research is the prestigious Bernie Banton Fellowship, awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) as an annual Fellowship to commemorate the life of Bernie Banton through supporting health and medical research related to mesothelioma. The 2017 Bernie Banton Fellowship recipient has been decided and will be publicly announced shortly.
In the Directors Report, in the inaugural ADRI Annual Report published in 2009, Prof Nico van Zandwijk stated, “Before his death in 2007 Bernie Banton recommended “that we must join forces in our battle against asbestos-related disease”. ‘Join forces to remove the dark cloud hanging over Australia caused by asbestos’ was immortalized and has become the motto for the Bernie Banton Centre and the ADRI in particular.”
In his Directors Report in the 2015 ADRI Annual Report, Prof Nico van Zandwijk followed on this theme by stating:
‘The importance of good relations with victims support groups cannot be emphasised enough.’
What a shame such promising words never eventuated into actuality with Prof van Zandwijk and other prominent ADRI stakeholders seemingly going out of their way to ensure this has not been the case, where the Bernie Banton Foundation at least, has been concerned, since 2010.
The Bernie Banton Foundation has always sought to collaborate and work in closely with ADRI – it is entirely ADRI’s doing that this has not happened.
It is inconceivable to all at the Bernie Banton Foundation, that those responsible at ADRI do not embrace the opportunity of being united in common cause with the only nationally registered Sydney based, asbestos disease support organisation.
With the exciting appointment of Prof Ken Takahashi as ADRI’s new Director, having commenced on 1 February 2017, we are hopeful ADRI will adopt a more inclusive and open doctrine. With the dawning of a new era at ADRI, we are confident the relationship between ADRI and the Foundation will be restored in the near future. Prof Takahashi has an unenviable job ahead of him, should he see a need, and wishes to change the ingrained institutional status quo at ADRI.
The Foundation offers Prof Takahashi any support it can give in this endeavour, should he deem it desirable and possible – we truly hope he does, and it is!
THE ASBESTOS DISEASES RESEARCH INSTITUTE IN REVIEW 2009 THROUGH TO 2016
With the dawning of a new era at the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI), as the inaugural Director, Prof Nico van Zandwijk departs the scene, and Prof Ken Takahashi takes the helm, it is an opportune time to review the first 8 years of the world’s first stand alone asbestos diseases research facility.
The Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, housed in the Bernie Banton Centre was launched in January 2009 with great fanfare and promise, being heralded as the world’s first stand alone asbestos disease research facility. The Bernie Banton Centre was described by the inaugural Director, Prof Nico van Zandwijk as being, “an intelligently designed, spacious research building with up-to-date dry and wet laboratories, offices and meeting facilities”.
Shortly after the official launch, Prof Nico van Zandwijk was reported as ‘hoping’ the new Asbestos Diseases Research Institute housed at the Bernie Banton Centre would have as many as 50 researchers within five years. You can read the quoted 2009 article (click on it to enlarge) at the conclusion of this review.
ADRI’s MISSION STATEMENT
“The Asbestos Diseases Research Institute aims to improve the diagnosis and treatment of asbestos-related diseases and at the same time to contribute to more effective measures to prevent exposure to asbestos.“
NATIONAL DIAGNOSTIC AND TREATMENT GUIDELINES FOR MESOTHELIOMA
In 2009 ADRI started work on the National Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Malignant Mesothelioma. Somewhere along the way this morphed into the National Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, and was approved for release by the NHMRC in July 2013.
AUSTRALIA MESOTHELIOMA REGISTRY
Also in 2009 ADRI joined forces with a number of other interested stakeholders to re-launch the Australian Mesothelioma Registry (AMR), to collect information and data about all diagnosed sufferers of all forms of mesothelioma. Not only are all contact details collected, but relevant information is also detailed. If the sufferer consents they may also participate in a questionnaire to determine work history, exposure etc. Having all mesothelioma sufferers on a central accessible databank will also make it easier to encourage the collection of tumour tissue samples to be used in research. This has now been in place since 1 July 2010 with the AMR receiving notification of all new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in Australia.
In 2011, ADRI established its own biobank facility. According to the 2015 ADRI Annual Report, this state of the art facility contains fresh frozen tumour tissue and matched bloods from mesothelioma patients, control tissue samples and series of formalin-fixed tumour tissues. The biobank also collects associated clinical data on patients who donated their tissue samples. Quoting from the 2011 Annual report: “The accumulation of data from patient’s medical records, Medicare, the national Mesothelioma registry and various cancer registries is essential in order to provide researchers with accurately annotated tissue samples.”
MESOTHELIOMA SUPPORT CO-ORDINATOR
During 2014 ADRI received ongoing dedicated funding, from a specialist asbestos litigation law firm, to create a part time Research Staff position for a Mesothelioma Support Co-ordinator.
CANCER COUNCIL MESOTHELIOMA GUIDE
In 2014 the bi-annual scheduled revision of the Cancer Council Victoria’s original 2011 Mesothelioma – A guide for people with cancer, their family and friends (revised in 2012) became due. Contentiously, within the mesothelioma support community, ADRI reportedly received a grant of $60,000 from the Asbestos Education Committee for them to rewrite the booklet only as a pleural mesothelioma booklet (released in June 2015) – thankfully, after advocating, this booklet is now being revised by the Council Council NSW on behalf of Cancer Council Australia, and is reverting back to the original format covering all forms of malignant mesothelioma.
ADRI also claims to be involved in asbestos awareness activities within Australia via having the ADRI name attached to the Asbestos Education Committee’s mobile model 1950s house trailer: Betty – The ADRI House. The Asbestos Education Committee is a collaboration between the NSW Government, James Hardie and the ACTU. Furthering ADRI’s forage into awareness, its inaugural Director spoke at a number of conferences abroad, presenting on the subject.
So far ADRI has been credited with having commenced one clinical trial resulting from its research, this has taken place in collaboration with the privately owned biopharmaceutical company EnGenIc, the TargomiRs trial (somewhere along the line the trial name changed to MesomiR trial). The TargomiRs trial was announced in August 2013, with great expectation, and was to commence by the end of 2013. Unfortunately, although there was an initial encouraging result reported on one participant in mid 2015, the phase one trial is now behind schedule, and has yet to have had a final report written. As of 1 February 2017, there is no indication that a phase 2 trial will come to fruition.
DISCUSSING THE MISSION STATEMENT
IMPROVE THE DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF ASBESTOS RELATED DISEASES
There seems to be only minimal evidence of ADRI researching the diagnosis or treatment of any kind of asbestos disease, other than pleural mesothelioma. This has been done at the expense and hopes of sufferers of other forms of mesothelioma (peritoneal, pericardium etc) and other forms of asbestos related diseases.
This was particularly high-lighted by the creation of a Research Staff position for a Mesothelioma Support Co-ordinator (funded by a specialist asbestos litigator who no doubt makes far more money out of pleural mesothelioma sufferers, than out of sufferers of any other form of asbestos related disease). Not only was a person employed who only, seemingly, has had experience or involvement with pleural mesothelioma (in particular with sufferers who had a particular form of aggressive pleural mesothelioma surgery), but the position description excludes all others diagnosed with non-cancerous asbestos related diseases, and asbestos related lung cancer.
This was further evidenced by the turning of the National Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Malignant Mesothelioma project into a guideline only about pleural mesothelioma. The same can be said about turning the Cancer Council Booklet from a booklet covering all forms of mesothelioma to a booklet only covering pleural mesothelioma.
Given the person acknowledged as having been the prime advocate for ADRI’s very existence, Bernie Banton AM, was diagnosed with multiple forms of non-cancerous forms of asbestos related disease and also PERITONEAL mesothelioma, it is incomprehensible that virtually all research resources seem to be focused on only one one form of asbestos related disease, pleural mesothelioma.
CONTRIBUTE TO MORE EFFECTIVE MEASURES TO PREVENT EXPOSURE TO ASBESTOS
What is this all about, or what it should be all about, is obviously a debating point that not everyone will agree on. Is it about ADRI doing everyday awareness, or is it about ADRI researching and devising ways to do more effective awareness – thus preventing exposure to asbestos? Should it be about ADRI researching better ways to actually prevent exposure – such as finding new ways or products to actually stop people being exposed? Or should it be about ADRI studying the various forms of asbestos to find ways to neutralise, or break them down to make them inert, to allow safe removal and disposal – which may also help discover a cure for asbestos related diseases. Around the world, and at ADRI, millions of dollars are spent annually on trying to find a cure for asbestos related disease (mainly for asbestos cancers – malignant mesothelioma and asbestos related lung cancer – in ADRI’s case specificaly pleural mesothelioma), perhaps the focus is wrong? Should we be concentrating on learning more about what makes asbestos so resilient or impervious to destruction?
Within Australia ADRI has claimed to be creating awareness about asbestos by attaching its name to the Asbestos Education Committee’s mobile model house trailer: Betty – The ADRI House. One needs to ask whether ADRI’s name being attached to Betty will have made any difference to the awareness created? Realistically, whatever awareness Betty may or may not have created, would have happened with, or with out ADRI’s name attached to it. The question should be asked, “Is this actually contributing to creating more effective measures to prevent exposure to asbestos?”
Whilst the value of Betty as an awareness tool or initiative is seriously questioned by the asbestos diseases support and awareness organisations around Australia, the free advertising it gives ADRI cannot go astray.
ADRI’s Director has attended conferences in New Zealand, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines lecturing on asbestos awareness related topics. I have no doubt this has helped to create awareness of the dangers of asbestos in these countries – which has to be a good thing, but again, “Is this actually contributing to creating more effective measures to prevent exposure to asbestos?”
FACTS AND FIGURES
ADRI STAFFING LEVELS
As of February 2017, the ADRI website listed 14 research staff in total – this would seem to be typical of the numbers each year, give or take. However neither the Annual Reports (it should be noted, that for the first time, the 2016 Annual report does not list its staff), nor the website indicate how many hours staff members are funded for, or do, or how much time is spent in doing actual research, within the laboratories or work areas of the Bernie Banton Centre. Where a position is marked with an asterisk* it indicates it is unknown whether employment is part time, casual or full-time – however it would be assumed, given the nature of Postdoctoral and PhD scholarships and fellowships, most are only at the best part time positions. We estimate there are seven listed Research Staff members who it would seem are actually working within the ADRI occupied section of the Bernie Banton Centre, but in the case of one, the Mesothelioma Support Co-ordinator, not necessarily in the laboratories:
1 x Senior Scientist; 1 x Senior Researcher*; 1 x Molecular Biologist/Research Fellow*; 1 x Postdoctoral Research Fellow*; 1 x Part Time Biobank officer; 1 x Part Time Data-base co-ordinator; 1 x Part Time Mesothelioma Support Co-ordinator
Seven (7) people are listed as research staff who by their description, and information contained in various Annual Reports and the website, it would appear they do not actually do research at the Bernie Banton Centre, but carry on their listed activities elsewhere:
2 x Medical Oncologists* – both are listed as working independently away from ADRI working for major hospitals and institutions and possibly running their own practices.
1 x Senior Clinical Adviser* – listed as purely being a clinical adviser, with no evidence of actually doing any research work either for ADRI or at the Bernie Banton Centre. Note: This person is also listed as a Board Member of ADRI’s controlling body, the Asbestos Diseases Research Foundation.
1 x Epidemiologist Postdoctoral Research Fellow* who is listed as working out of the Cancer Institute of NSW.
1 x Research Fellow* undertaking his PhD in the School of Psychology, University of Sydney.
1 x Research Officer* assisting one of the above listed Medical Oncologist in conducting clinical trials.
1 x Research Assistant/Student* listed as doing PhD studies at The University of Sydney.
Over the 8 year period of being in operation (2009-16), ADRI staff have made approximately 175 presentations at conferences around the world and given approximately 86 talks/invited presentations in Australia and internationally.
PUBLICATIONS – PRESENTATIONS – GRANTS
According to the ADRI 2010 Annual Report:
“The most accurate measure of research output is publications. Research publications reflect the quality, originality and value of the research conducted and the number of publications largely reveals research productivity.”
The big questions are, “Is there a yardstick to judge the number of publications in relation to the amount of research productivity?” and, “Does quantity necessarily reflect quality?”
For me being a practical person, I would think a more reliable indicator may be how many peer-reviewed grants are being sought and won in any given year.
However, for most people who have lived the asbestos disease journey, what really matters is results! – Rod Smith
Note: Due to non-consistent nature of the ADRI Annual Reports, with regularly changing reporting formats, and some known omissions being added to the totals, and double ups decreasing the totals, the information compiled below is as accurate as possible, but should only be considered indicative, not actual.
2009: Publications: Contributed to 10 x Journal Articles and 2 x Book Chapters (Note: Articles and book chapters not listed as being peer-reviewed). Total: 12
Presentations: Gave 10 x Conference Presentations and 4 x Local Presentations. Total: 14
Grants: ADRI attracted 2 x grants (Note: Grants not listed as being peer-reviewed). Total: 2
2010: Publications: Contributed to 16 x Peer Reviewed articles, 2 x book chapters – Total: 18
Presentations: Contributed to 7 x Conference Poster Presentations; Gave 15 x Conference Presentations and 8 x Local Presentations. Total: 32
Grants: ADRI listed 4 x grants (Note: Grants not listed as being peer-reviewed). Total: 4
2011: Publications: Contributed to 13 x Peer Reviewed articles. Total: 13
Presentations: Contributed to 8 x Conference Poster Presentations; Gave 15 x Conference and 9 x Local Presentations. Total: 32
Peer-reviewed Grants: ADRI attracted 3 x Peer Reviewed grants. Total: 3
2012: Publications: Contributed to 13 x Peer Reviewed articles. Total: 13
Presentations: Contributed to 9 x Conferences Poster presentations; Gave 15 x Conference Presentations and 10 x Invited Presentations. Total: 34
Peer Reviewed Grants: ADRI listed 4 x Peer Reviewed grants. Total: 4
2013: Publications: Contributed to 21* x Peer Reviewed articles, 1 x Book (*3 x articles also included in 2012 Annual Report – so not included in total). Total: 19
Presentations: Contributed to 11 x Poster presentations; Gave 9 x Conference Presentations and 15 x Invited Presentations. Total: 35
Grants: ADRI listed 4 x new grants and 5 x ongoing grants (Note: Grants not listed as being being peer-reviewed). Total: 9
2014: Publications: Contributed to 9 x Peer Reviewed articles, 3 x Book Chapters. Total: 12
Presentations: Contributed to 14 x Conference Poster presentations; Gave 18 x Conference Presentations and 13 x Invited Talks. Total: 45
Grants: ADRI listed 5 x new grants and 7 x ongoing grants (Note: Grants not listed as being peer-reviewed). Total: 12
2015: Publications: Contributed to 17 x Peer Reviewed articles; 1 x Book Chapter. Total: 18
Presentations: Contributed to 8 x Conference Poster presentations; Gave 3 x Conference Presentations and 18 x Invited Presentations. Total: 31
Grants: ADRI listed 5 x new grants and 4 x ongoing grants (Note: Grants not listed as being peer-reviewed). Total: 12
2016: Publications: Contributed to 17* x Peer-reviewed articles and 1* x Book Chapter (*4 x articles and 1 x Book Chapter also included in 2015 Annual Report – so not included in total). Total: 13
Presentations: Contributed to 19 x Conference Poster presentations; Gave 16 x Conference Presentations and 9 x Invited Presentations. Total: 44
Grants: ADRI listed 1 x new grants and 4 x ongoing grants (Note: No grants listed as being peer-reviewed). Total: 5
2009 THROUGH TO 2016 TOTALS:
PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES, BOOKS Etc: 105
Conference Posters: 76
Conference Presentations: 98
TOTAL CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS: 175
LOCAL/INVITED PRESENTATIONS: 86
OVERALL PRESENTATIONS: 261
This is an amazing amount of conference presentations, particularly given the small number of Research Staff listed. When one thinks of the amount of time (and thus cost) it must take to prepare presentations, put together posters/abstract presentations, and the time it takes to fly around the world (even if the trip is sponsored) it is astounding. Add the time and cost expended on doing other forms of presentations and writing peer-reviewed articles, as a layman, the mind boggles. Imagine if this time, and the money spent on travel, was instead spent on (or sponsored towards) doing actual research or providing service delivery. No doubt the researchers feel differently!
Another point of note in this analysis is the fact only one new (1) grant is listed has having been gained in 2016. – Rod Smith
Given the staffing figures stated, and if Prof Nico van Zandwijk’s hope of ADRI having 50 researchers is to be believed, it would seem the ADRI controlled section of the Bernie Banton Centre is running at about 10% capacity or utilisation. The question must be asked, “Can ADRI justify staying in the obviously under utilised multi million dollar Bernie Banton Centre, without making major changes?”
Is the concept of a stand alone asbestos diseases research institute and facility really practical? Obviously ADRI are not working as a stand alone institute or facility, with many of its fellows and students working elsewhere, and studies being done in collaboration with other research facilities. This includes a key component of its only research generated clinical trial being developed and supplied by a private biotech company, EnGenIc. By all accounts the Bernie Banton Centre lacks key equipment, that ADRI cannot justify having due to utilisation and fiscal factors – clearly it makes more sense to outsource and collaborate. One would hardly think this is what the phrase ‘stand alone’ really means. Can ADRI and the Bernie Banton Centre truly lay claim to be a ‘stand alone’ research institute, in a ‘stand alone’ facility – and is it desirable to even try, or claim to be?
How can ADRI better utilise the Bernie Banton Centre? Should it invite outside interests to pay to utilise what must be considerable unused, “intelligently designed, spacious research space with up-to-date dry and wet laboratories, offices and meeting facilities” – thus generating much needed research dollars? Or should it learn to collaborate better and start to be more inclusive with like minded organisations?
Why has ADRI concentrated on only one form of asbestos related disease? Granted, pleural mesothelioma makes up the largest number of diagnosed mesothelioma sufferers, but it is generally acknowledged there are at least 3 times as many sufferers who are diagnosed with other forms of asbestos related disease.
Much could be done to improve the diagnosis and treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma sufferers, and also for those with non-cancerous asbestos related diseases. Should ADRI change its medical research philosophy to be more inclusive of all asbestos related diseases – instead of concentrating on one sector, thus alienating the rest? After all, Bernie and Karen Banton spent the last six years of their life together fighting for the rights of all asbestos disease sufferers, and advocating for the ADRI and the Bernie Banton Centre to be established.
They did this for the benefit of sufferers of all forms of asbestos related disease and the wider community – not just for pleural mesothelioma sufferers!
Why has ADRI created a position for a Mesothelioma Support Co-ordinator instead of working in with the Bernie Banton Foundation and its Mesothelioma and Asbestos Related Support Network? Why were the Bernie Banton Foundation not consulted by ADRI about its available services before taking this step?
Should ADRI concentrate more on asbestos preventative research, rather than attempting to do, or be involved in asbestos awareness? There are already many doing asbestos awareness, there are few (if any) doing research on asbestos and finding better ways to prevent exposure. In other words, should ADRI broaden its horizon and not just do medical related research, but do laboratory based asbestos research?
After 8 years since officially being launched, and 8.5 years since the appointment of its inaugural director, it is not for us to judge ADRI’s performance over the last eight years, but it would be interesting to know what Bernie Banton AM would be thinking if he were still alive.
For all at the Bernie Banton Foundation, and others, the big question is, “Why has ADRI refused to collaborate or work in with the Bernie Banton Foundation for over 7 years?”.
We hope the Board of the Asbestos Diseases Research Foundation (ADRI’s owner and controlling body) will acknowledge, and find answers to the above question, and have the will to address the situation. We also hope they will work with their newly appointed Director, Prof Ken Takahashi to invigorate not only ADRI, but its direction.
To emphasis ADRI’s claimed motto originating from the words of Bernie Banton AM, we need to:
‘Join forces to remove the dark cloud hanging over Australia caused by asbestos’
The Bernie Banton Foundation wishes Prof Takahashi success in his new tenure, and offers any support it can give to both, Prof Takahashi and the ADRF Board.
Where there is hope and faith, there is a way.
Bernie Banton Foundation
*Source: RADiUS MAGAziNE VOLUME 22 NUMBER 1 MARCH 2009
(The magazine of the University of Sydney Medical Alumni Association and the Faculty of Medicine)
ABOUT BERNIE BANTON AM and THE BERNIE BANTON CENTRE
Extracts from a press release issued 21/01/2009 by the NSW Premiers office entitled: Banton Centre Opening
New $12 million Bernie Banton Centre opens to fight asbestos related diseases January 21 2009
Premier of NSW Nathan Rees today joined the Acting Governor Professor Marie Bashir and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to open the world’s first stand-alone research facility dedicated to improving the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of asbestos related disease.
The Centre is named in honour of Australia’s foremost campaigner in the fight to raise awareness about dust diseases, Bernie Banton AM.
Mr Rees said naming the new facility the Bernie Banton Centre was a fitting tribute to a remarkable man.
“Bernie was a champion,” Mr Rees said. “His courage and conviction continue to be an inspiration to us all. He was a determined fighter for justice for asbestos victims and their families despite the fact that he was suffering himself with the terrible asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.”
“The Bernie Banton Centre is a fitting monument and token of national gratitude for his personal sacrifice and contributions to the struggle to bring justice to those affected by asbestos-related disease.”
If you, or a loved one has been diagnosed
with an ASBESTOS RELATED DISEASE and you would like to talk to somebody who knows what it feels like to be in similar circumstances to what you are in, whether you are a sufferer or carer, please phone the Foundation’s 24/7 Support Helpline Freecall® number: 1800 031 731
Note: The Bernie Banton Foundation is not accredited to provide advice. The information and/or advice provided is for assistance only. The advice of a qualified specialist should always be sought before making legal or medical decisions.