Asbestos action must be a priority for Qld

22 March 2013
A Queensland Ombudsman report highlighting the need for a lead State agency and a more efficient and coordinated response to asbestos incidents in Queensland has been welcomed by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

Maurice Blackburn Associate and head of the firm's Queensland asbestos practice Trent Johnson said the recommendations of the report tabled yesterday were essential and called on the State Government to address the recommendations as a priority.

"We welcome and support any measures that seek to clarify and simplify the processes around reporting of asbestos incidents and ensuring any asbestos identified can be removed safely," Mr Johnson said.

"People are becoming more aware of the dangers of asbestos and the need to ensure it is removed safely, but the current system is confusing and it can be difficult to identify who can provide advice and assistance about safely removing asbestos.

"This can particularly be a problem on weekends when many people are renovating their homes and may come into contact with asbestos and need advice quickly about what to do.

"The State Government is doing some good work in this space but need to act on these recommendations as a priority - in Australia around 700 people each year are diagnosed with mesothelioma and we expect this is an issue that will still be with us for many years to come, particularly with people undertaking home renovations.

"The recommendation calling for adequate facilities to dispose of asbestos safely and lawfully and ensuring there is accessible information about this for the public is also welcome, and any lead agency must also ensure disposal fees remain reasonable to continue to encourage people to do the right thing in safely disposing of asbestos.

"These recommendations further build on inroads already underway at a national level to address the dangers of asbestos and it's imperative all levels of government continue the momentum on working towards eradicating asbestos for good," he said.

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