Asbestos

The Role of Local Government

Councils work independently and with State Government agencies to manage the risks of exposure to asbestos. Situations where councils can have a role include:

  • Emergency response
  • Management of naturally occurring asbestos
  • Regulation of activities (non-work sites, particularly DIY home renovations)
  • Management of contaminated land
  • Management of council land, buildings and assets
  • As a responsible employer
  • Education and advice to the wider public
  • Waste transport, disposal and regulation
  • Land use planning (including development approvals and demolition)

News

International Asbestos Safety and Eradication Summit

The ASEA International Summit on Asbestos Safety and Eradication returns for the fourth year, this time it will be held in Canberra from 26-28 November 2017.

The summit will focus on developing Australia's next National Strategic Plan for asbestos management and awareness. The summit will bring together well renowned local and international experts in asbestos management, health, advocacy and governance to look at what is best practice in managing the dangers of asbestos in Australia and abroad.

For more details and for registrations please visit the event website at the following link Asbestos Safety and Eradication Summit 2017.

Best Practice Asbestos Management Councils

This free forum will be held at Forbes Shire Council on Monday 31 July 2017.

The forum will offer offer participants the opportunity to explore the role that councils play in the safe management and regulation of asbestos within their Local Government Areas. Councils from the Central NSW region are invited to attend along with representatives from the EPA, SafeWork, Office of Emergency Management, Office of Local Government and LGNSW.

For further information and to register, please visit the event page here.

Naturally Occurring Asbestos

Councils can use the following resources from the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities to manage asbestos that occurs naturally in the landscape:

  • A map showing areas with potential for naturally occurring asbestos (NOA).
  • Please refer to the mapping report when reviewing the mapping.
  • Model Asbestos Policy outlining councils’ roles in managing NOA.

Loose-fill asbestos insulation

The NSW Government is providing free tests across 28 Local Government Areas for homeowners concerned their ceiling insulation may contain loose-fill asbestos installed in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly by Canberra-based company ‘Mr Fluffy’.

Homeowners outside these areas may arrange ceiling testing through a licensed asbestos assessor. If the result is positive, the cost of the test will be refunded and the free testing will be extended to that LGA. 

Only a qualified occupational hygienist or licensed asbestos assessor should inspect ceiling spaces for asbestos insulation and arrange proper testing.

Find out more information on the Service NSW website.
 

Background

November 2010 – the NSW Ombudsman highlights the need for major improvements to asbestos management in the report Responding to the asbestos problem: The need for significant reform in NSW.

August 2011 – the NSW Government responds by committing to establish the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA). 

November 2011 – The predecessor to HACA, the Asbestos Co-regulators Working Group (ACWG) which was initiated in March 2010, publishes the Asbestos Blueprint: A guide to roles and responsibilities for operational staff of state and local government.

2012 – HACA develops the Model Asbestos Policy for NSW Councils

2013 – HACA releases the NSW State-wide Asbestos Plan

2013 - present – HACA continues to deliver initiatives in the NSW State-wide Asbestos Implementation Plan to improve the management, monitoring and response to asbestos issues in NSW through coordinated prevention programs.

April 2017 – The NSW Ombudsman releases report Asbestos - How NSW government agencies deal with the problem - A Special Report to Parliament - April 2017