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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 6047..


Mr Speaker, I have detailed a range of amendments addressed in the bill. The overarching aim is the creation of a better-aligned employment framework that maximises the efficiency and effectiveness of the service while protecting the rights of workers and supporting the development of a high-quality, world-class public service.

I commend the bill the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Seselja) adjourned to the next sitting.

Dangerous Substances Amendment Bill 2010

Ms Gallagher, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.12): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Today I introduce the Dangerous Substances Amendment Bill 2010. The bill will amend the definition of asbestos used in the Dangerous Substances Act 2004. This definition will also apply to those parts of the dangerous substances general regulation that applies to asbestos.

The purpose of this amendment is to clarify what should be treated as asbestos for the purposes of regulation. Many people would assume it is a simple matter to identify what is and what is not asbestos. Members may not be aware that asbestos is actually a naturally occurring silicate that can be present in a range of minerals. The same minerals may not contain any asbestos at all.

From a legal point of view, this makes it difficult to accurately state what governments are trying to regulate for health and safety reasons. The asbestos form of these minerals may present a danger to health. However, other common products can also be made from these minerals. For example, the mineral tremolite may contain asbestos but could also just be used to make jade jewellery.

As members would be aware, it is illegal to import asbestos. It is also illegal to install or reuse asbestos or asbestos products. In 2001 the Workplace Relations Ministers Council agreed to a future national asbestos ban. In the ACT this ban was given effect under the Dangerous Substances Act 2004 from 31 December 2003.

Earlier this year the national industrial chemicals notification and assessment scheme, being the commonwealth regulator of industrial chemicals, advised the commonwealth government that to ensure legislation in each jurisdiction adequately covered the asbestos form of relevant that the names of each mineral must be expressed in a specific way.


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