Bill's Media Releases

GOVERNMENT MUST ACT NOW TO ARREST SURGE IN ASBESTOS IMPORTS

The Government must take immediate action to stop asbestos being imported into Australia.

 

The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) has advised the Senate Inquiry into non-conforming building products that building products containing asbestos are being imported to Australia contrary to Australian law.

 

It has been reported that at least eight shipments have been stopped in recent times, but it is unclear how many have not been detected.

 

Given the grave consequences of asbestos being contained in building products, without the knowledge of the builder or occupant, Labor is calling for the Government to significantly increase the penalties available. Presently the penalty is only a fine of $170,000.

 

In 2012 Safe Work Australia estimated the average human cost of an asbestos related fatality was over $1 million and of asbestos related incapacity was over $2 million.

 

Further, Labor calls on the Government to give greater priority to stopping asbestos imports at the Border.

 

ASEA has proposed greater surveillance at the border, targeting imports from countries known to have imported products containing asbestos in the past, and that Border Force pursue penalties against importers of asbestos to deter further imports of building products containing asbestos.

 

Australia already has one of the highest rates of asbestos related death and injury in the world.

 

Previous Senate inquiries have found that around 30,000 to 40,000 Australians will be diagnosed with Asbestos related injuries over the next 20 years.

 

Asbestos is prohibited from being brought into Australia except in very limited circumstances.

 

SUNDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2015 

 

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