Media Release: 100th NSW council to undertake LGNSW Asbestos Management Training

9 June 2014

The 100th NSW council will take part in a specialist Asbestos Management Training workshop in Newcastle on Tuesday 10 June 2014, with nearly two-thirds of councils across the state having participated in the training initiative since its launch in 2013.

President of Local Government NSW (LGNSW), Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM, said asbestos was widely used in home and building construction until being gradually phased out in the late 1980s, so it’s extremely important councils are trained in all aspects of asbestos management to ensure staff and community safety.

“Local Government NSW has only been offering this training since April 2013, in conjunction with the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities, and I’m extremely pleased to see the high uptake by NSW councils, including Gloucester Shire which is the 100th council to register for a workshop.

‘Despite asbestos being banned in Australia in 2003, it can still be found in one of three homes built before 1990, often in fibro sheeting, sheds, flooring, insulation, and behind bathroom and kitchen tiles.

“Clearly, the safe management of asbestos will be an issue for many years to come and it’s crucial that councils are properly trained and have suitable policies in place to minimise the risk to communities and council staff when asbestos fibres are present.

“From the get-go councils have been on board, with the first three workshops, based on Local Government NSW’s Model Asbestos Policy for NSW Councils, booked out instantly.

“Willoughby was the first council to host an Asbestos Management Training Workshop and, since then, has adopted its Asbestos Policy and conducted Asbestos Awareness Training through TAFE NSW for 75 Council staff.

“Requests for asbestos management training have come from NSW councils far and wide, and we met this demand by taking the workshops on the road to places like Armidale, Mudgee, Wagga Wagga and Wollongong – to name just a few.

“Councils have used this opportunity to share their strategies with one another on different asbestos management issues, including responding to emergencies involving asbestos, waste management, land use planning and naturally occurring asbestos.

“Managing asbestos is such a mammoth task for councils, and WorkCover’s involvement in the training initiative has given councils the chance to be frank about their challenges and put their questions to WorkCover for practical solutions,” said Cr Rhoades.

The Asbestos Management Training Workshops included presentations by WorkCover, the Environment Protection Authority, the Department of Planning and Environment, the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services and NSW Public Works, and councils that have formally presented case studies to their peers.

LGNSW is now developing a suite of case studies of asbestos management by NSW councils, which will be available online this month. For more information on asbestos management, visit: http://www.lgnsw.org.au/policy/asbestos

Media Enquiries
Cr Keith Rhoades, AFSM, President: 0408 256 405
Alexandra Power, Acting Director - Communications: 0427 435 309