The Coalition Government continues to take decisive action to crack-down on illegal asbestos importation, increase awareness efforts and reinforce the danger of exposure to deadly asbestos fibres.
Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said from today, Australians can call the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) ‘Asbestos Safety Hotline’ on 1300 326 148 to get fast and accurate referral advice on dealing with asbestos around their homes, workplace or the environment.
“Sadly, around 4,000 Australians die from asbestos-related diseases each year. This figure is simply too high and the Government is committed to improving access to asbestos awareness information,” Minister O’Dwyer MP said.
“This 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.”
The Government is also strengthening Australia’s border measures to prevent the illegal import of asbestos.
Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds, said the Government would introduce changes to customs and imports regulations to increase penalties, simplify classification of asbestos materials and help to protect the community from illegal importation of asbestos materials into the future.
“The Government intends to bring forward amendments to strengthen offences and penalties for the illegal importation of products containing asbestos,” Senator Reynolds said.
“This will be accompanied by further reforms to strengthen the customs regulations and improve consistency with work, health and safety laws.”
The Government will also ensure Australia continues to play a key role internationally in providing advice and assistance to countries in our region looking to introduce national bans on asbestos mining, production and use.
“The CEO of ASEA, Ms Justine Ross, travelled to Lao Peoples Democratic Republic this week to participate in national workshops with Government officials and to progress their National Action Plan for a nationwide ban on asbestos to eliminate asbestos-related disease,” Minister O’Dwyer concluded.
National Asbestos Awareness Week runs from 25 November to 1 December 2018. Further information on asbestos safety can be accessed from www.asbestossafety.gov.au.