Thursday, 20 September 2012 15:30
Asbestos Free Tasmania CEO Susan Wallace welcomed today’s announcement by Minister Bill Shorten that the Federal Government will create a new asbestos agency to work with all levels of government to develop a national strategy to remove asbestos from the built environment and increase asbestos awareness and education.
Ms Wallace is attending the Second National Asbestos summit in Sydney, convened to examine the recommendations of the Asbestos Management Revue, delivered to the Federal Government in July.
Susan Wallace said:
“Australia has the highest recorded rate of asbestos related deaths from the dreadful cancer mesothelioma, 600 to 700 per year. Medical experts estimate approximately two cases of lung cancer for ever incidence of mesothelioma so the real yearly death toll is probably twice that.”
“Now we are seeing a new wave of these preventable diseases from people exposed to asbestos, largely in ignorance, through the home renovation boom.”
Ms Wallace acknowledged that removing asbestos safely from our built environment is a massive task that requires Federal Government support and a considered national strategy:
“Tasmania is doing some great work in this area working towards greater public awareness of asbestos, improved education and the development of a prioritised removal policy. However this issue is beyond any one level of government and a national strategy and a bipartisan approach can make a real difference.”The adoption of the proposed national strategic plan will require co-operation and action from all levels of government to be successful.
“We need all levels of government to work together on this. We need a visionary approach but with practical and achievable outcomes,” said Ms Wallace.