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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1015..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

This small, sorry tale perhaps illustrates why the amendment bill, which asks for the explanatory statement of a bill to include reports on consultation conducted in its development, is so important. I plan to bring that bill on for debate next week. If such a report on consultation were included in the explanatory statement for this bill, we would have known immediately if any key contributors had accidentally missed the chance to feed into the debate on the legislation itself.

For the interest of the government and members, the feedback I have received to date is that the legislative approach is, in essence, a good one, although, in regard to do-it-yourself home renovators and active tenants, it depends too much on the serendipity of the education program; that it might be too easy for the presently heightened risk awareness to fade; and that, without a requirement to conduct assessments at point of sale, new owners and tenants may find themselves too often victims of unforeseen disease.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Industrial Relations) (11.16): This bill is the conclusion of a long journey. It has been widely supported by many government, community and industry stakeholders.

At this point I particularly thank the former Minister for Industrial Relations for all the hard work that she and her staff have put in to progress this important issue. I also put on record my particular thanks to the government's Asbestos Management Advisory Committee, represented by the Master Builders Association, the Housing Industry Association, the ACT chamber of commerce, the Real Estate Institute of the ACT, Unions ACT and the Law Society, for all of their work in the development of this legislation.

I believe this bill represents a far more balanced, practical and effective approach to asbestos management, awareness and training in the ACT. I highlight a few of its key achievements. This bill will ensure that we provide the best possible standards of safety and advice to home renovators and to our trades, service and maintenance people by applying in law the most up to date and relevant codes of practice available for the safe handling, management and disposal of asbestos.

The bill also greatly emphasises the importance of health and safety requirements surrounding the work involving asbestos by establishing new licensing regimes for the asbestos-specific occupations of asbestos assessor and asbestos removalist. Given the sensitive nature of this type of work, a licensed regime will allow greater regulation of the industry and protect both industry professionals and consumers. This health and safety message is further reinforced by requiring that building certifiers and those prescribed occupations, while working with asbestos which may be incidental to a particular trade or activity, also undertake relevant asbestos training.

One last point on the bill: these provisions will provide greater confidence in those people who do renovations or those looking to rent or buy a home, by requiring that either an asbestos assessment report, if the current one is available, or an asbestos advice form is made available to those people by owners. This will ensure that people in those


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