Anti-asbestos campaigner is Fairfield’s Australia Day Ambassador

Published Wednesday, 21st January 2015

Karen Banton, Founder and CEO of the Bernie Banton Foundation, has been named as Fairfield City Council’s Australia Day Ambassador for 2015.

Karen is a strong advocate on behalf of asbestos disease sufferers and their families, fervently continuing the legacy left by her late husband Bernie Banton AM.

Bernie was widely recognised as the public face of the legal and political campaign fought in Australia from the early 2000s until 2007 to achieve a binding agreement with James Hardie Industries for a long-term compensation fund for the many sufferers of asbestos-related diseases after they were exposed to the company’s asbestos-containing products.

Karen cared for Bernie as he suffered pleural plaques, asbestos-related pleural disease and asbestosis, and she ultimately nursed him as he bravely endured mesothelioma (diagnosed in August 2007). Bernie lost his battle, dying at home on the 27 November 2007.

In 2009 Karen, together with a number of supporters, founded the Bernie Banton Foundation. Its primary aims are to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos and advocate for the rights of asbestos-related disease sufferers and the general community.

She has now become the public face for the cause and the ongoing fight for justice.

Fairfield City Council’s Australia Day Community Awards Ceremony will be held on Thursday, 22 January 2015. The ceremony will include the presentation of the 2015 Fairfield City Australia Day Community Awards, where we will announce the 2015 Fairfield Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of The Year, Sports Achiever, and Volunteer of the Year, along with recipients of Australia Day medallions.

Council will also hold a small Citizenship Ceremony, an important opportunity to officially welcome a small number of new citizens as full members of the Australian community.

A limited number of Fairfield City residents can also re-affirm their citizenship at the ceremony. Those interested can call 9725 0203 to register.


Media enquiries: Megan van der Hoeven, Communications and Marketing Officer
Phone: 9725 0843