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Review of the role and functions of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency

Media Release

The Morrison Government today tabled a review of role and functions of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA).

The review was a statutory requirement under the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Act 2013 and was conducted by an independent consultant, Ms Julia Collins.

ASEA was established on 1 July 2013 to coordinate, monitor and report on the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management (NSP).

The review examined ASEA’s statutory role and functions, including its role in implementing the NSP, in light of future challenges in dealing with Australia’s asbestos legacy.

The review found that ASEA has been successful in providing a strong national and international focus on asbestos issues by bringing together stakeholders, sharing information, encouraging collaboration and building knowledge and capability.

The review recommended the Government continue and broaden ASEA’s activities in recognition of this valuable work.

Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter, acknowledged the significant impact on the health and safety of Australians that may arise from exposure to asbestos.

“The Government is committed to protecting workers and the community from the scourge of asbestos, the Attorney-General said.

“Australia has one of the highest incidences of mesothelioma in the world with approximately 4000 Australians dying each year from asbestos exposure,” Mr Porter said “ASEA plays a critical role in driving national action on asbestos management and safety. That is why the Government doubled the funding of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency. Our strict stance on a ban on the use of asbestos was reinforced when we introduced tougher penalties for illegal importation of asbestos earlier this year.

“I accept the review recommendations in principle, and have asked my department to consult with key stakeholders and develop options for their implementation to help ASEA continue its important work.

“I thank Ms Collins and the stakeholders who contributed their views for their efforts in undertaking this review.”

The release of the review report coincides with National Asbestos Awareness Week 2019, which runs from 25 November to 1 December 2019. The week aims to highlight the significant health risks and dangers posed by exposure to asbestos fibres

A copy of the review is available on the Attorney-General’s Department website.

For more information on asbestos safety and eradication, please visit www.asbestossafety.gov.au/.