Lives At Risk Without Asbestos Register

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11th October 2010, 07:46pm - Views: 971

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Media Release

Monday 11th

October, 2010

Lives at risk without Asbestos register

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union has backed calls by a

leading asbestos researcher, to set up a register of contaminated NSW landfill sites.

Paul Bastian, the AMWU National President, said that unions and asbestos victims

groups would back the proposal of Professor Nico van Zandwijk, the inaugural asbestos

diseases research institute director at the Bernie Banton Centre.

Mr Bastian re-iterated the wider call for a National Asbestos Authority to be established.

“The landfill issue which Professor van Zandwijk has raised is only one part of the


“1 in every 3 homes built from 1940 to 1980 contains asbestos, which is more than 1

million homes.

“There is significant risk of exposure as people carry out DIY home renovations without

being aware of the dangers,” Mr Bastian said.

“Asbestos material is also sitting in situ in schools and other public buildings, right across


Mr Bastian said that unions and community groups, including the Australian Cancer

Council had raised the idea of a National Asbestos Authority in a public forum in June

this year.

Unions and the Cancer Council have written to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and are

awaiting a response.

“Such an Authority should be charged with conducting a National Audit of asbestos

contaminated buildings and public locations, and establishing a register and a system for

removing or securing asbestos.”

As Professor van Zandwijk told the Sydney Morning Herald on the 9th of October:

''We don't know the level of potential exposure and we need to develop a greater

understanding. It is a matter of increasing awareness and developing a register of where

this is happening.''


AMWU National President, Paul Bastian – 0419 409 285

Media Officer, Tim Chapman – 0418 660 810

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