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World-first centre celebrates 10 years of advancing law to stop cancer

Friday 1 April, 2022

A decade after launching as the only centre of its kind in the world, the McCabe Centre for Law & Cancer continues to have global impact shaping laws that prevent cancer and protect people affected by it.

Founded on 4 February 2012 (World Cancer Day) as a joint initiative of Cancer Council Victoria, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Cancer Council Australia, the Centre has become a trusted source of knowledge, training and technical support on legal measures to reduce the impact of cancer and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). 

Since its launch, the McCabe Centre has trained more than 270 lawyers and policymakers from 77 countries on how to develop, implement and defend public health laws. With support from the McCabe Centre, alumni of the program have helped pass and defend at least 25 laws and regulations, including tobacco control laws in Papua New Guinea, alcohol control laws in Vietnam, and a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in the Solomon Islands. 

The McCabe Centre is known worldwide for its work supporting tobacco plain packaging law, building on Australia’s experience as the first country to introduce plain packaging in 2013 and has now worked with more than 17 countries who have passed their own plain packaging laws.

People from a McCabe centre training

In 2013, the McCabe Centre became the first Knowledge Hub of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), focusing on legal challenges to tobacco control laws. It is also the WHO Collaborating Centre on Law and Noncommunicable Disease, collaborating with WHO Regional and Country offices to support local governments. 

Hayley Jones, Director of the McCabe Centre said the team look forward to continuing to make real change in the decades to come. 

“What brings our first decade into focus are the people we’ve connected with along the way – those we’ve worked with and supported, and those living happier, healthier lives because of our efforts. 

“We look forward to continuing to empower our network of alumni who advance laws in their countries, our civil society partners who unite communities to take action, and the people affected by cancer who bravely stand up for their right to health.”

Find out more about the McCabe Centre for Law & Cancer at


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