The Federal Government has announced stronger border laws the prevent the import of asbestos products into Australia, alongside an overhaul of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency’s hotline service to best give accurate and timely referral advice for dealing with asbestos-containing materials.
The Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, Kelly O’Dwyer said that the “repurposing of the ASEA enquiry line and the new ASEA website will provide greater clarity on where the community can go to for help and advice, no matter which state or territory they live in.”
According to the Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Linda Reynolds, the Government intends to fast-track stronger laws and higher penalties for the illegal importation of asbestos-containing materials, as well as an increased effort to simplify the classification of these materials.
“This will be accompanied by further reforms to strengthen the customs regulations and improve consistency with work health and safety laws,” Reynolds said.
Government strategy has taken into account recommendations from last year’s Senate inquiry into the threat of illegally imported building materials and other material that carries a risk of containing asbestos. This is despite the Government recently rejecting a recommendation for mandatory recall insurance and due diligence systems for procurers, believing that current WHS laws provide sufficient cover.