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$5 Million for Bernie Banton Centre.

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Prime Minister of Australia

Media Release

$5 Million for Bernie Banton Centre

21 January 2009

The Rudd Government will contribute $5 million to the new Bernie Banton Centre, the world’s first dedicated asbestos research institute.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made the announcement at the opening of the Centre, a major co-development between the NSW Government and the ANZAC Research Institute at Concord Hospital in Sydney.

The federal government contribution will go towards the final fit-out costs of the Centre, also known as the Asbestos Disease Research Institute.

The Centre honours Bernie Banton, a man of exceptional decency and humility who stayed full of life and fight during his darkest days, battling to help and support victims of mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease.

The establishment of the Centre is a major boost to research conducted on the Concord Hospital campus, where Bernie Banton was treated.

Its work will be complemented by the ongoing work of the National Research Centre for Asbestos-Related Diseases (NRCARD), which links together 11 research centres around Australia.

It will also work alongside the future Centre of Research Excellence into Asbestos-Related Disease, which will be established from 2010 with $2.5 million in federal funds to support world-class research.

The Rudd Government has also previously announced the establishment of a Bernie Banton Asbestos Research Fellowship under the National Health and Medical Research Centre fellowship program for researchers of renown.

Mesothelioma is a cancer, and is usually fatal. It typically occurs 20 to 30 years after exposure to asbestos.

By 2020, it is estimated that Australia will have 13,000 cases of mesothelioma and a further 40,000 cases of asbestos-related cancer.

The Rudd Government recognises that those suffering asbestos-related disease face enormous challenges.

The Bernie Banton Centre at Concord Hospital will promote prevention and education about asbestos-related disease in Australia and throughout the Asian region.

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