The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) was excited to be able to hold its annual conference face to face for the first time in a long time, and chose the Blue Mountains as the venue. The reason was strategic as well as scenic: the Blue Mountains Council was subject to a public enquiry in 2017 over its handling and management of asbestos, and has since worked closely with ASEA to become an exemplar of good practice.
An independent statutory authority with a focus on the prevention of asbestos exposure, the ASEA Conference is attended by a varied group of “stakeholders” including local councils, asbestos removal firms, government departments and agencies, trade unions, legal firms, advocacy groups and university researchers. The MC for 2022, ABC presenter and broadcaster James O’Loghlin, himself gave a presentation about his personal pursuit for compensation for a childhood friend, a victim of the notorious Mr Fluffy insulation so widespread in the ACT.
The conference is a opportunity to hear about asbestos issues elsewhere in the world, with delegates and speakers from Indonesia, Laos, Viet Nam, Cambodia, the Pacific region and Columbia.
The two key medical research institutes in Australia which are focussed on asbestos disease – NCARD here in Perth, and our colleagues and counterparts at the Asbestos Disease Research Institute (ADRI) in Sydney, were invited to present an overview of current research. Representing NCARD was Dr Melvin Chin who presented online, with Prof Sonja Klebe, the new director of ADRI, presenting in person. We’re grateful to the conference organisers for allowing us to share their excellent presentation here