12:02 pm, Monday 18 February, 2013
Photo: SafetyCulture Library
Asbestos victims and two Australian unions have launched a new campaign to make the country asbestos-free by 2030.
The Asbestos Free Future has been launched to address the threat of asbestos which is still present in many older homes as well as government and commercial establishments.
The Australian Manufacturer Workers’ Union (AMWU), The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), and several asbestos groups are calling on the Federal Government to provide funding and implement the Asbestos Management Review Committee’s full recommendations, which would raise awareness on the risks of asbestos exposure and reduce the rate of asbestos-related diseases in Australia.
AMWU National Secretary, Paul Bastian said asbestos poses serious threat to the community and that there is more that needs to be done to completely eradicate asbestos from the country.
“It’s time for the Australian Government to implement a strategy to effectively tackle the threat of asbestos. That means the recommendations from the Asbestos Management Review Committee need to be implemented and fully funded to eradicate asbestos from our environment by 2030.
“The fact that asbestos-related disease is still killing people, and isn’t expected to peak until 2020 means we really need to combat hidden traces of the deadly material in our homes and commercial buildings.
“What is really concerning about asbestos in Australia, is that far too few people know about the dangers or that it is still present in our environment.
“That is why we need to establish a dedicated National Asbestos Authority, and a national set of laws. We need every one of the Asbestos Management Review recommendations implemented to make sure Australia is asbestos-free by 2030,” said Mr Bastian.
CFMEU’s Construction and General Division assistant secretary, Lindsay Fraser said removal of asbestos from government and commercial buildings should be prioritised.
“Asbestos Free Future is also a campaign to raise awareness among younger Australians about the ongoing dangers of asbestos exposure. Many of the victims are now “third or fourth wave” contracting the asbestos related diseases through home renovation projects rather than from the workplace.
“As many as two or three houses built between WWII and 1983 contain asbestos. We need the National Asbestos Authority strategies in place to work towards an asbestos free Australia by 2030,” said Mr Fraser.
SafetyCulture reported that a recent poll showed majority of Australians want the federal government to ensure the removal of asbestos from all homes and public buildings within two decades. (Read SafetyCulture report).
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