October 21, 2018

High cost of asbestos removal

It has been revealed plans to make Tasmania asbestos-free could cost the State Government more than $1 billion.

There is a national push to ensure all public buildings are asbestos-free by 2030.

The head of Tasmania’s Workplace Safety watchdog says it could cost taxpayers $1.4 billion.

Roy Ormerod told a Senate inquiry that Housing Tasmania estimates it will need to spend $400 million, the Education Department between $200 million and $1 billion and the Health Department $7 million.

“At the end of the day you’ve really got to get this stuff out of these buildings,” Mr Ormerod said.

Last month the Workplace Relations Minister David O’Byrne said the Government was still trying to work out the cost of the plan.

The Local Government Association has warned councils will not have the money to carry out the plan over the next 17 years.

Meanwhile Tasmania’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the proposal is unsafe and unreasonable.

Spokesman Phil Bayley says forcing businesses to comply with the proposed deadline could lead to money being diverted away from other safety initiatives.

He has told ABC Local Radio, Tasmanian businesses that have an asbestos problem are already doing a good job of managing the risk.

“The deadline’s not helpful, because what it does is it actually imposes an arbitrary deadline that doesn’t actually count for what the best management practices are on any given worksite and it’s also uncosted,” Mr Bayley said.

“And as I said it actually diverts money from higher priority occupational health and safety initiatives.”

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High cost of asbestos removal

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