Local communities urged to ‘think twice about asbestos’

This year’s National Asbestos Awareness Week campaign is asking communities to avoid complacency and “Think Twice About Asbestos”.

The campaign, running from 22-28 November, challenges complacency by reminding home renovators and tradespeople that the danger of asbestos is far from over.

Asbestos is in one in three Australian homes. It is also still present in many public and commercial buildings, particularly those constructed before 1990.

“Anyone who thinks asbestos-related diseases are a thing of the past needs to think again,” says Justine Ross, of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (AESA).

“Every year in Australia, there are an estimated 4000 deaths from past exposure to asbestos. That’s one of the highest rates of asbestos-related disease in the world.

“With more Australians having more time for DIY during the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to remind them of the dangers of damaged, disturbed or deteriorating asbestos,” Ms Ross says.

“If you’re doing DIY, ‘Get in the know, take it slow and get a pro’ at any point in the reno process.

“People working on homes built before 1990 can stay safe if they know where asbestos is, if they don’t disturb or damage it, and if they seek professional help to locate, manage or remove it,” she said.

The National Asbestos Awareness Week campaign promotes the role of licensed asbestos professionals for both home renovators and tradespeople.

Local government’s roles and responsibilities in eliminating asbestos-related diseases are laid out in the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management 2019-23.

Further information is available at www.asbestossafety.gov.au.