Dust Diseases Alliance


SA Asbestos Coalition has expanded to recognise the threat of respirable crystalline silica and other dust particles.

The SA Asbestos Coalition was formed in 2005. In May 2023, the Coalition made the decision to expand its scope, developing a new terms of reference to reflect the increasing exposure of workers to damaging dust particles. 

20 years after asbestos importation was banned in Australia it still is prevalent in our built environment and the Dust Diseases Alliance remains a coalition of groups and individuals who are committed to continued campaigning and advocacy in the area of asbestos and dust diseases in South Australia.

Many organisations are doing excellent work in our state in the area of asbestos and silica management but in the past we rarely got together or worked together. Regulations in WHS laws are being implemented while significant changes are required in workplace practices and operations.

We agreed it would be more effective if we could share our expertise and support each other in this important public issue.

The Coalition currently meets on the final Friday of each month to hear information on specific areas of expertise, share information, identify issues and support each other.  

If you would like to join the Alliance or find out some more information contact SA Unions on 8279 2222 or email training@saunions.org


A Living Monument to Departed Asbestos Campaigners
The valiant struggle of four impressive asbestos victims  campaigners was remembered in the planting of a tree for each at Jack Watkins park on Asbestos Awareness Day 2008.

Asbestos Register
If you think you have come in contact with Asbestos contact SA Unions on 8279 2222 or email : saunions@saunions.org to obtain an Asbestos Register Form to have your details recorded.

Jack Watkins Park
The Jack Watkins Park in Kilburn was completed and opened earlier this year on the cleaned up site of the old Islington Railway Yards.  The project was initiated by the local Council and now provides a great resource for the community in Kilburn.

This site is well known as a place where a large number of workers died of asbestos related disease as a result of the work they were performing.  One of the worst jobs resulting in this large number of deaths was the removal of friable asbestos from railway carriages.  This put the workers in direct contact with the material.  It also resulted in wives and children of the workers dying as the workers carried the dust home on their clothes.  Asbestos dust also blew around the area into people's yards and homes.

Over the last 100 years a conservative estimate would put the number of workers who died at around 400, although many of those who died in the 30's and 40's were diagnosed as having lung cancer and other diseases because of the lack of awareness of asbestos and its dangers.  The number of community members who also died is difficult to measure but whole families have died of asbestos related disease in this area.

This is why it is both a community and a union issue and has led to the collaboration of the City of Port Adelaide Enfield with the SA Unions to develop a memorial for the victims of asbestos on this site.  It is apt that it is placed in the Jack Watkins Park as Jack has been a tireless campaigner for the removal of asbestos over many years.

The memorial was developed as a place for reflection and memorial of those who died but also a place for people to learn about the dangers or asbestos and celebrate the good things that happened on this site - the mateship, the hard work.  These words are part of memorial, as is a place for people to sit and have quite reflection.

The memorial was initiated and funded by the SA Unions, the City of Port Adelaide Enfield and the funding was also sought and given by the State Government, WorkCover, unions, law firms and businesses.  All the names of the generous supporters are included as part of the memorial.

The generous support has enabled this memorial to be creative, innovative and beautiful.

Asbestos Facts 

Fact 1
It is estimated that 54,000 Australians will be affected by an asbestos-related illness by 2020.

Fact 2
It is estimated that 18,000 of those will die from an asbestos-related cancer.

Fact 3
South Australia has the second highest per capita incidence of asbestos related disease in the nation.  For every mesothelioma sufferer, another 2 people develop asbestos related lung cancer.

Asbestos Links
SafeWork SA - Asbestos - click here
Asbestos Diseases Society of SA - click here
Asbestos Victims Association - click here
ACTU - OHS Campaign - click here
Asbestos Awareness : ACT Government - click here
The Asbestos & Mesothelioma Resource Centre offers a comprehensive resource on asbestos and its devastating effects - click here