Blue Mountains Council raises the bar in asbestos management

A toolkit developed by Blue Mountains City Council will be distributed to councils throughout NSW as a “best practice” approach to asbestos management.

It follows an independent inquiry into allegations surrounding the council’s handling and management of asbestos before 2017.

The public inquiry, conducted by barrister Richard Beasley, SC, examined the council’s response to asbestos problems between 2012 and mid-2017, including funding and co-operation with state government agencies.

Commissioner Beasley’s interim report (published in May 2019) found Blue Mountains had remedied failings in asbestos management before mid-2017, and it recommended that a management toolkit developed by the council should be distributed to other councils.

NSW Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock this week accepted that recommendation, saying the delay in publicising the inquiry findings was due to “Covid-19 and other regulatory investigations”.

“The asbestos management toolkit will be a valuable resource for all NSW councils to benefit from Blue Mountains City Council’s learnings and approach,” Mrs Hancock said.

“All councils must ensure that they protect their workers and residents from the dangers of asbestos, which is why the Government supports this sensible recommendation by the commissioner.”

Safe Work NSW is reportedly reviewing the toolkit, which is scheduled for release in mid-year.