Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 3180..
Documents incorporated by the Chief Minister
ACT Asbestos Management Review—2010—Government response.
Mr Speaker on February 17 this year, I tabled the Report on the ACT Asbestos Management Strategy Review 2010.
Today, I respond on behalf of the Government to that Report.
Asbestos is a demonstrated human carcinogen that causes lung cancer and mesothelioma, as well as other lung disorders. It is well documented, that many tonnes of asbestos were used in building materials and much of this is still present within our community today. The Government accepts that due to the nature of asbestos; particularly the period of latency between exposure and the onset of illness, that people may be less vigilant than they should when handling this material.
Mr Speaker, I am pleased to announce the Government has agreed to implement all of the recommendations in the review, including the appointment of a Response Coordinator as suggested in the Coordinated Action Response Model. We have made this decision, to ensure that in a situation where a timely and efficient response from the various directorates which have responsibility for different aspects of asbestos management is required, the coordinator has the authority to direct Directorates to respond quickly. The position will also be the single point of contact for the public seeking information about asbestos.
As recommended an Asbestos Regulators Forum will be established and will consist of senior officers from across Government. This group will be chaired by the Work Safety Commissioner. The Forum will be the key advisory body to Government in maintaining an effective asbestos management strategy.
In the coming weeks the ACT Work Safety Commissioner will convene the first meeting of the Forum to set out a project plan to meet the Government's goal. I am expecting the Forum to advise me on how best they will work together to implement the recommendations stemming from the Review Report, particularly with the coordination of Government directorates in respect of asbestos regulation, remediation, training, industry oversight and public awareness.
Pivotal to the success of the Regulators Forum is the development of a strategy for reporting and recording data. A draft strategy is currently being finalised for consideration at the Regulators Forum meeting. The ACT Government has comprehensive data relating to its own property and asset portfolios, regulatory notices including issuance of improvement notices, and accident and incident reports.
This data will form an important tool in the future management of asbestos, and will allow the Forum to make informed policy decisions and address areas of most risk.