Asbestos Management Review
Mr Geoff Fary, previously Assistant Secretary of the ACTU, was been tasked by the Australian government to undertake a review of Asbestos Management in this country. After extensive consultations, Mr Fary developed and released an Issues Paper for public comment. The government has asked the Review to make recommendations for the development of a national strategic plan to improve asbestos awareness and management. Aspects considered in the paper were:
the enhancement of education and public awareness;
the efficacy of asbestos import and export controls;
asbestos removal, handling, storage and disposal;
mandatory reporting and disclosure where asbestos is detected; and
mandatory collection of data and reporting on associated health issues.
The Hon. Bill Shorten MP, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations released the Asbestos Management Review Report – June 2012 on 16 August 2012. Minister Shorten concluded with the following statements:
This report demonstrates how critical and urgent the issue is.
It is an issue for all levels of government.
It is an issue that is affecting people at work, in schools, in hospitals and at home.
I am going to consult with all jurisdictions and all of the groups that have campaigned for action on asbestos to develop a quick response to the review.
This is a once in a generation report.
And I expect that the change that comes from our response to it will be substantial.
Many lives are counting on it.
The report can be downloaded from this page on the newly established Office of Asbestos Safety website. Mr Fary made twelve substantive recommendations. The major ones were that:
- the Australian Government lead and advocate for all jurisdictions to agree to the development of a National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management in Australia, based as a minimum on the principles and recommendations outlined in the report;
- The priority areas of the National Strategic Plan be to improve asbestos:
– Transport, storage and disposal;
– Education; and
– Information sharing.
- the Australian Government support and legislate for the establishment of a new national agency - the Australian Asbestos Awareness and Management Agency (AAAMA) to have responsibility for the implementation, review, refinement and further development of the plan in accordance with the principles and recommendations outlined in the report.