Asbestos Innovation Fund launched
A $1.5 million Asbestos Innovation Fund announced by the Minister of Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator Chris Evans, will sponsor programs and research to prevent and better manage asbestos exposure, as well as improve treatment for asbestos-disease sufferers.
Commenting on the Fund, Senator Evans said: “It is a sad reality that asbestos has touched, and continues to touch, the lives of many ordinary Australians. Tackling the threat of asbestos diseases in Australia will require action and collaboration on all levels.
“And it will require new research into better treatments for those Australians suffering from exposure to asbestos, and their families.”
The Asbestos Innovation Fund would be underwritten by Comcare as part of its role to improve the management of the Commonwealth’s common law asbestos responsibilities.
Comcare will work with Safe Work Australia and other Commonwealth agencies with an interest in asbestos-related diseases to ensure that any new programs and research under the Innovation Fund complement other programs already underway.
Funds will be available over three years from 1 January 2011 for practical programs and research on asbestos awareness, management and removal as well as improved treatment and support for sufferers and their families.
Applications to the fund will be assessed by Comcare, assisted by independent experts. The fund will complement the recent establishment of a National Asbestos Management Review, headed by Geoff Fary and comprising an expert advisory group. The review team is to develop a national plan by June 2012 to improve asbestos awareness, management and removal.
“Through collaboration between government, industry, universities, research centres, hospitals and the wider health sector, we can increase public awareness, prevent asbestos exposure and reduce suffering from its effects,” Senator Evans concluded.
Comcare will shortly call for proposals to be considered for funding under the Asbestos Innovation Fund.
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