March 19, 2019

Asbestos policy up for comment

Dubbo City Council has put a draft policy for dealing with deadly substance asbestos on exhibition for public comment.

The document specifies the organisation’s responsibilities to minimise exposure to residents, the public and council employees and has some information for “DIY” enthusiasts.

Asbestos is found in most homes built before the mid-1980s and can cause deadly cancers if the fibres become airborne and are inhaled.

Council environmental control manager Debbie Archer said council has a dual role in minimising exposure to asbestos as far as reasonably practical for residents and the public as well as council’s employees.

“The draft asbestos policy outlines the role of council and other organisations in managing asbestos, the relevant regulatory powers as well as general advice for residents on renovating homes that may contain asbestos,” Ms Archer said.

“There are five key areas of responsibility for council in relation to minimising risk of asbestos exposure – educating residents, managing land, managing waste, regulator responsibilities, and responsibility to workers.

The manager said health risks related to asbestos were low if it were left undisturbed, but the risk rose when undertaking home renovations or demolition work, particular in buildings constructed before 1990.

“It is important to remain vigilant when dealing with potentially hazardous material and the draft policy clearly articulates council’s responsibilities,” Ms Archer said.

In 2012 then-local government minister Don Page said there had already been at least 4700 deaths from mesothelioma, a type of cancer associated with exposure to asbestos, in Australia since records began in the early 1980s, with more than 25,000 more expected to die from it over the next 40 years. The draft asbestos policy can be downloaded from the council website and public submissions close on June 9.

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Asbestos policy up for comment

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