Asbestos Model Policy
Model Asbestos Policy for NSW Councils
A Model Asbestos Policy for NSW Councils has been developed by the LGSA in partnership with the NSW Government. The Model Asbestos Policy provides councils with the basis for the preparation of a comprehensive and compliant asbestos policy. It outlines important legislative obligations of councils and provides useful additional information. A guide to the Model Asbestos Policy (PDF, 3.7MB) has been developed to assist councils to use the Model Asbestos Policy (Word, 1.7MB) to create an asbestos policy for their local area.
The Model Asbestos Policy has been issued to all councils by the Division of Local Government and is available below:
- Model Asbestos Policy for NSW Councils (Word,1.7MB)
- Developing your council’s asbestos policy: A guide to the Model Asbestos Policy for NSW councils (PDF, 3.7MB)
Throughout 2013 LGNSW (formerly known as the LGSA) in conjunction with the NSW Government, will assist councils to adopt an implement the Model Asbestos Policy by providing information and workshops.
This project is being overseen by the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA) Working Group. More information is available from the WorkCover Authority of NSW.
A Local Government Reference Group provided valuable input to the development of the Model Asbestos Policy.
Training for councils
During 2013, asbestos management training workshops will be held across NSW to support councils in adopting the Model Asbestos Policy. The training will offer participants the opportunity to explore the roles and responsibilities of councils in safely managing asbestos. Expert presenters, council case studies and group activities will outline useful strategies. The training will equip council staff to develop or review their asbestos policy and related procedures.
The dates and locations of the workshops along with how to register can be found in events and training.
Workshops will be held at:
- Chatswood - Tuesday 9 April.
- Holroyd - Wednesday 15 May (Workshop full).
- Coffs Harbour - 2 May 2013. A one hour workshop will be held as part of the Waste 2013 Conference.
- Wollongong - Monday 29 May.
Ballina - Thursday 27 June.
We know asbestos is highly dangerous and potentially deadly if asbestos fibres are breathed in. While the manufacture, use and re-use of asbestos was banned in Australia in 2003, it’s not just a problem of the past. Its legacy continues to haunt us. Around one in three Australian homes contain asbestos. Those planning D.I.Y activities at home need to ask ‘am I playing renovation roulette?’ and find out if asbestos may be present before cutting, sanding, drilling or dismantling.
For more information, view the Asbestos Awareness Week 2012 Community Service Announcement on YouTube.
Photos from Asbestos Awareness Week, including the launch of the Model Asbestos Policy, are now available.
The Role of Local Government
Councils have an important role in minimising exposure to asbestos and need to be aware of their responsibilities. Councils play a key role in educating the community on the safe management of asbestos and are often the first point of contact for residents.
Councils can educate the wider community about asbestos by:
- Placing referral information on their website, for example, links to other informative sources.
- Distributing information via newsletters or fact sheets.
- Developing and publicising policies and strategies to handle asbestos related incidents.
Councils respond to complaints from the public about unsafe work conducted at a residential property by a neighbour. Councils may also approve the demolition or renovation of buildings that could contain asbestos and may enforce conditions to ensure correct handling of asbestos. Many councils manage waste facilities and respond to illegally stored or disposed waste and emergencies.
A useful guide to the agencies and legislation involved in managing asbestos hazards is the Asbestos Blueprint: A guide to roles and responsibilities for operational staff of state and Local Government (PDF, 3.88).
Highlighting the need for major improvements to asbestos management, the NSW Ombudsman issued the report: Responding to the asbestos problem: The need for significant reform in NSW in November 2010.
The NSW Government responded to the Ombudsman's Report (in August 2011) committing to:
- Establish the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA).
- Develop a State-wide Asbestos Plan.
- Communication strategies for public awareness and education particularly for local communities and councils.
- Issue a model asbestos policy to all councils from the Division of Local Government.
The Ombudsman's Report and the NSW Government response are available through the WorkCover Authority of NSW.