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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 3242..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

the government has not walked away from the policy initiatives contained in these sections.

The requirement for specific asbestos surveys under sections 47K and 47L will be removed and replaced by more cost-effective generic advice, an example of which appears in appendix 2 of the report. A more comprehensive site specific asbestos survey will become an option for property owners to pursue if they choose. Coupled with better training for tradespeople to identify and work with asbestos and community education, these measures will provide suitable and practical management approaches for the residential sector. These approaches will also remove the possible negative impact of asbestos reports on property values and the cost to property owners and significantly diminish the risk of personal liability that might accrue to owner occupiers.

In the non-residential sector, owners will be required by legislation to establish asbestos registers and active asbestos management plans and to make these available to tradespeople and buyers at the point of sale. These approaches are currently considered to be best industry practice and are endorsed by the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission.

To complement these regimes, there will be increased emphasis on the safe management of high-risk activities, with education, training and awareness programs provided for those groups which regularly undertake high-risk activities with materials containing asbestos, namely, tradespeople and do-it-yourself home renovators. Regardless of the law, tradespeople handle asbestos as part of their daily work activities. A new asbestos certificate of competency will be developed which will authorise trade groups to handle a limited amount of asbestos. This will be a first in Australia and will be recognised throughout the country by virtue of the mutual recognition regime for skills and competencies.

Targeted awareness and education will be provided for do-it-yourself home renovators so that they will be aware of the right pathways to advice and services. Restrictions also will be placed on the scope of the activities they can undertake with materials containing asbestos in order to reduce incidences of people working with asbestos materials without adequate training and protection. Minimum training and operating standards for asbestos assessors and surveyors are also proposed to ensure greater consistency and reliability in the identification and assessment of asbestos.

MR SPEAKER: The minister's time has expired.

MR GENTLEMAN: I have a supplementary question. I wonder whether you could talk to us about section 47J of the Dangerous Substances Act.

MR SPEAKER: You have to ask a question. "I wonder whether you will talk to me."I suppose that is a question.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, could you advise the Assembly about section 47J of the Dangerous Substances Act?

MS GALLAGHER: Section 47J of the Dangerous Substances Act remains in force. This section commenced in April 2005 and will remain in operation until amended in


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