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Who We Are

The Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia (ADSA) is Australia’s leading health and advocacy association assisting persons exposed to asbestos or silica dust. ADSA has played a crucial role in helping Western Australians, in particular, affected by mesothelioma – asbestosis – silicosis – lung cancer. 

ADSA was founded in 1979 to assist dying workers and their families in their fight for recognition of their asbestos caused diseases, justice, and a cure. Founders Robert and Rose Marie Vojakovic saw that the asbestos diseases sufferers and their families needed ongoing support medically, socially, and emotionally, and so they founded the Asbestos Diseases Advisory Service (ADAS) in 1984. This important service continues today providing screening services, and ongoing medical, emotional, and legal support.  

All services provided by ADSA and ADAS are absolutely free. Public support and tax-deductible donations have enabled the Society to assist thousands of sufferers over the last 40 years. 

  • Comprehensive Care

    The ADSA is proud to provide comprehensive care to its members and their families. Offering Lung screening with our GP and Nurse Practitioner, pastoral care support groups, information sessions with leading specialists and allied health professionals, referrals to specialists and supportive care providers and assistance in accessing allied health services.

    The ADSA supports you and your family from screening, diagnosis, treatment (including information on the latest treatment trials), compensation information, palliative care through to your legacy.

  • Memorial

    ADSA is determined that all those lost to entirely preventable asbestos diseases are remembered in a dedicated permanent physical memorial as well as a digital history.

    The only memorial for hundreds who die every year is the ADSA annual Ecumenical Memorial Service. In 2018 Unions WA graciously allowed a plaque to be placed in Solidarity Park opposite Parliament House WA commemorating those lost to Wittenoom Australia’s worst industrial disaster – Wittenoom.

  • Information

    As the first organisation and only organisation of its kind in Australia, the ADSA worked with patients, international scientists & lawyers, local respiratory physicians & epidemiologists, WorkSafe, Unions and the Australian Government to develop the first local occupational dust standards.

    The ADSA also lobbied with other groups and Unions across Australia to form the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) to ensure the latest information on safety was available to industry and the public. Today we work closely with ASEA and Worksafe WA and support groups around Australia.

  • Awareness

    The ADSA created the first Asbestos Awareness Week in November 1985 which now runs Nationally in every State. The November week of awareness materials and media culminates ADSA annual Ecumenical Memorial Service at the end of the week.

    ADSA created the T.V. campaign to warn against the dangers of visiting Wittenoom. 

  • Advocacy

    Legal, up-to-date medical care and life saving medical research. To date WA has the least supportive compensation laws and compensation compared to the rest of Australia.

    Despite being twice as likely to die of mesothelioma in WA than a car accident asbestos diseases are not classified as a public health concern and therefore are not funded.

Our People

The first ADSA meetings were in the Vojakovic family’s dining room. Dying workers and their families shared their stories as they could not find support financially, medically legally and emotionally in Western Australia or Federally. These passionate pioneers formulated a plan initially seeking justice and support for former these former Wittenoom workers and their families.

However, as word spread amongst other injured workers from organisations like the Government Railways, Ceiloydes, James Hardie and the Unions, they joined forces with Robert Vojakovic to follow the plan for justice and to save lives.

More than four decades on, the ADSA Committee and its staff have helped thousands of Australians and their loved ones to access support for asbestos-related and other dust diseases.

Rose Marie Vojakovic AM & Robert Vojakovic AM JP
Founders and Patrons
Melita Markey
Dr Peter Brockhoff
GP – Head of ADSA’s Dust Diseases Screening Program
Deirdre Louw
Nurse Practitioner – Occupational Nurse and Pastoral Care Program Manager

ADSA Committee

Dave Hall
John Martelli
Treasurer/ Secretary
Camilo Conte
Committee Member
Gerrit Van Burgel
Committee Member
Greg Comans
Committee Member
Dr Greg Deleuil
Former GP and current Committee Member
Leonard Markey
Committee Member
Stephen Bendict
Committee Member