Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent said CEO and Secretary of Gippsland Asbestos Related Disease Support (GARDS), Vicki Hamilton, had played an important role in helping to secure millions of dollars of extra federal funding for asbestos eradication.

“Vicki has been pushing hard on this issue. She really does deserve all the congratulations that come her way,” he said.

“An allocated additional funding for the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) of $2 million in 2016-17 and $1.4 million in 2017-18 has been secured. I can tell you that having dedicated community members get behind a cause you feel passionate about, makes the job of advocating in Parliament so much easier.”

Mr Broadbent, the Co-Convenor of the Parliamentary Group on Asbestos related Disease (PGARD) – a Parliamentary group dedicated to the eradication of asbestos in Australia and overseas – said he was “happy to say we fought hard to make sure funds for ASEA were maintained”.

“To see them increased was a big win for those who believe passionately in ridding the nation of this terrible blight,” he said.

Mr Broadbent also thanked the ACTU, and his fellow PGARD Co-Convenor Lisa Singh, who he had also worked hard on the issue.

“Asbestos exposure remains a real threat for many in Australia and around the world. A new report commissioned by ASEA predicts there will be approximately 19,400 new cases of mesothelioma in Australia before the end of the century,” he said.

“Tellingly, the report also predicts that 58 per cent of future mesothelioma diagnoses will be attributed to industrial exposures, with the remaining 42 per cent coming from third wave exposures.

“And by 2050, third-wave cases will have overtaken first and second waves of occupational exposure. Sadly, we are far from finished in our work in eradicating asbestos and asbestos related disease.”