Celebrating 10 years of advancing law to fight cancer

Friday 4 February, 2022

McCabe Team

A decade after launching as the only centre of its kind in the world, the McCabe Centre for Law & Cancer has released its 10-year impact report outlining its contribution to laws that prevent cancer and protect people affected by it.

The McCabe Centre was founded on World Cancer Day, 4 February 2012, as a joint initiative of Cancer Council Victoria, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Cancer Council Australia.

Ten years on, it 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).

We can be very grateful for the impact of the McCabe Centre on the lives of people affected by cancer in Victoria, Australia and around the world,” said Todd Harper, CEO of Cancer Council Victoria.

“It has supported new laws that keep people healthier and empowered legal reforms that help everyone get access to the treatment and care they need.

The McCabe Centre is based at Cancer Council Victoria in Melbourne with regional managers on the ground in Fiji, Kenya and the Philippines. Its international capacity building program 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.  

“In just 10 years, the McCabe Centre has united a global network of partners in government and civil society, empowering them to advance cancer control laws through outstanding capacity building and expert technical support,” says Cary Adams, CEO of UICC. “And they have done it all with great care and professionalism .”

McCabe Team

The McCabe Centre’s work in Australia includes collaborating with Cancer Council Australia to develop the Standard for Informed Financial Consent , which aims to protect Australians with cancer from unexpected expenses, and contributing to the Victorian Health Complaints Act 2016, which helps Australians recognise and report unsafe treatments for cancer. 

“Cancer Council Australia knew from the start that the McCabe Centre could shape how societies prevent cancer and protect people affected by it,” says Tanya Buchanan, CEO of Cancer Council Australia. “Ten years on, the whole world knows it, and countless people are better off for their efforts.”

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. The McCabe Centre has now worked with more than 20 countries who have passed their own plain packaging laws.

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. These cross-sector collaborations will be key to McCabe Centre’s impact into the future, says Director Hayley Jones.

“It has been a tremendous team effort over the past 10 years,” Hayley says. “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.”


The McCabe Centre’s legal training programs have received support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, while funding to support the Knowledge Hub is provided by the Australian Department of Health.

For more information, see our 10-year Impact Report, A decade of people and progress, 2012-2022.

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