Second Investigation into Cancer Related Illnesses
among National Gallery of Australia Employees




Meeting No 2

Date:  14 November 2006
Venue: Boardroom





Tim Driscoll; Gary Foster; Darrel Lord; David Hermolin (CPSU); Cheikh Kone, (CPSU); Phil Johnstone (CFMEU); Sarah Robinson; Craig O’Sullivan; Melinda Carlisle; Alan Froud; Tony Rhynehart


1.         Introductions and welcome

Alan Froud welcomed Cheikh Kone and Sarah Robinson (to replace Fiona Kemp) to their first meeting of the Steering Committee, and thanked Fiona Kemp for her participation to date.


2.         Update on Stage 1: Review of Workplace and Work Processes

Tim Driscoll provided a summary of the methodology for the benefit of the new Steering Committee members, and also spoke to the paper he had presented to the Committee.  The main points are:


(a) Progress to date


(b) Stage 1 report


Action: TD to develop draft Table of Contents and send to Steering Committee.


Consideration and sharing of Stage 1 report

It was agreed that the Stage 1 report would be released as follows:


(c)  Provision of information to investigation team

Alan Froud raised the issue of how to ensure that the investigation team had been provided with all relevant reports, information and documentation.  This was important because the Gallery was committed to full and open cooperation with the investigation, and did not want to inadvertently withhold relevant information.  It was agreed that:


Action: TD to develop list of all material provided by the Gallery and send to Steering Committee.


While the investigation team needed to finalise its discussions with concerned / interested persons as soon as possible, they were open to further approaches at any time.  However, if the information is to be included in the Stage 1 report, it would need to be provided by mid-December.


(d) Site inspections

The investigation team would consider whether it was necessary to inspect the Hume site, or the Gallery’s original sites in Fyshwick.


(e) List of OH&S questions

The investigation team will attempt to answer the list of questions prepared by Gallery staff in 2005.  This is a potentially long process, as some of the questions are very broad, and go beyond the scope of the investigation.  However they will attempt to provide reasonable responses in all cases.

Action: TD to respond to list of questions.


3.         Update on Stage 2:  Epidemiological analyses of cancer data

This stage requires approval from the state and territory cancer registries.

The investigation team has lodged applications with several of the registries.  The University of Sydney ethics committee was due to meet on the day of the steering committee meeting (14th November).  The SA ethics committee has requested additional information, and it is likely that other ethics committees will also request some clarification of particular points.

The team expects that it will not have a response from all registries until February at the earliest.

The Gallery will not commence collecting employee data (current and former staff) until the cancer registries have approved the investigation.


Action: TD and MC to assess availability of data.


Information sheet

The Steering Committee approved the information sheet.


Consent form

The Steering Committee noted a minor amendment was necessary.  The consent form would not be distributed to staff until approval of the investigation by the various ethics committees, as other changes may be required.

Completion of the consent form would be voluntary, however it was important to achieve a large response rate.  Confidentiality of those completing the form would be maintained.  It was proposed that staff would be provided with a reply-paid envelope to enable them to return the completed form direct to the investigation team.

Volunteers would be included in the investigation.


Obtaining National Deaths Index Data

The Committee was informed that accessing data from the National Deaths Index could be a potentially useful means of comparing causes of death with the general community, and would supplement the information obtainable from matching with cancer registry data.

The Committee agreed that the investigating team should approach the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to obtain access to data from the National Deaths Index.


4.         Next meeting

The next meeting will take place in the first or second week in February, as per the schedule for considering the Stage 1 report.


Tony Rhynehart
28 November 2006