ASBESTOS OVERHAUL TO MAKE QUEENSLAND SAFER

03/04/2014

 

Local homes and worksites will be safer under a new asbestos management strategy that will be the most comprehensive and rigorous of its kind in Australia.

 

Member for Pine Rivers, Mr Seath Holswich, said the Statewide Strategic Plan for the Safe Management of Asbestos in Queensland focused on effective cooperation with local councils, education and enforcement.

 

“This is about ensuring safer workplaces, safer homes and safer communities for Queensland,” Mr Holswich said.

 

“Thousands of Australians are affected by asbestos related disease and many cases could have been prevented with the right education and awareness.”

 

“A tragic example is the story of Adam Sager, who was unknowingly exposed to asbestos when he was 18 months old and died of mesothelioma at age 25.”

 

Member for Kallangur, Mr Trevor Ruthenberg, said the new strategy will end years of confusion around who handles asbestos complaints, which in the past, have been administered by four different State government departments, 73 local governments and numerous government agencies.

 

“We now have a clear set of responsibilities. Workplace incidents will be handled by State Government and local government will cover complaints about private residences.”

 

Educational material will also play a vital part in the strategy, including a series of short films which explain to DIY home owners and businesses their legal obligations for managing and removing asbestos containing materials.

 

“In the future, people will have no excuse for disposing of asbestos illegally, or not having the correct licenses or safety equipment.”

 

Other initiatives include:

• A review of the suitability of existing penalties and enforcement tools available to Workplace Health and Safety inspectors

• Strengthening the administration of asbestos licensing, including a process for suspending or cancelling an asbestos licence where a licence holder contravenes the legislation.

• Create a public online register of WHS asbestos license holders so Queenslanders can check the licensing and compliance records of contractors.

• Publish a register of waste sites that accept asbestos material

 

“We are committed to delivering better safety outcomes for Queenslanders and this new strategy will go a long way in achieving that.”

 

For more information on the strategy and a high definition video of “Losing Breath – The Adam Sager Story”, visit www.qld.gov.au/asbestos