Global search

Primary navigation

10 May 2024

In a decision handed down recently, the Supreme Court of Indonesia ruled in favor of a petition seeking mandatory labelling of asbestos-containing materials.

The ruling means it will now become mandatory for all asbestos-containing products sold in Indonesia to feature prominent warning labels in the official language Bahasa.

The petition was submitted to the court in December 2023 following a collaboration by groups including Australia’s Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA and its Indonesian partner organisation the Local Initiative for OSH Network (LION) together with the Independent Community Consumer Protection Institute and consumer advocacy body the Yasa Nata Budi Foundation.

The court submission was backed with evidence collected by local and global research, including pro-bono advice from dust diseases experts at law firm Maurice Blackburn.

The campaign efforts of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA in Indonesia, in partnership with LION, benefit from strong support from Australia, with cooperation from Unions WA through fundraising, training, and skills exchanges. Additionally, the project is supported by Australian Aid, the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, and the International Ban Asbestos Network.

Surya Ferdian, Director of LION, said a follow-up strategy would be implemented for all parties. “Indonesians have a right to know if toxic material is contained in products being sold in our country. We will conduct a public dissemination campaign about this decision to raise asbestos awareness. The Court’s ruling is a pivotal moment in the campaign to protect all our citizens from deadly asbestos exposures.”

Muchamad Darisman, Coordinator of the Indonesian Ban Asbestos Network, highlighted the public health import of the news: “By granting our request, the judges took a giant leap forward in safeguarding the lives not only of workers but also of members of the public and consumers. It is essential that the Government and all relevant authorities take prompt action to implement the court’s ruling. Warning labels, in our local language, must be put on all asbestos-containing products without any delay, and unlabelled products must be withdrawn from sale.”

Kate Lee, Co-Executive Officer of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, who runs the campaign to eradicate asbestos in Southeast Asia, said: “The Australian community is aware that asbestos kills. Australian trade unions have made huge efforts to eliminate asbestos and educate the public about its dangers. We are pleased with this landmark victory and proud to stand in solidarity with Indonesian workers in their battle against this lethal dust.”

Jonathan Walsh, Principal Lawyer, Maurice Blackburn, led the pro-bono team providing expert legal advice. “Our dust disease lawyers are proud to have played a part in helping achieve this important legal win. This result will save lives and protect many Indonesian workers and the public more broadly. This is a small but very important first step of many to help our Indonesian neighbours deal with its asbestos industry and the devastation it is wreaking. We remain committed to partnering with APHEDA in their international efforts to combat asbestos and dust diseases, ensuring the safety of workers and reducing the devastating impact of asbestos-related disease that Australians continue to face.”

Owen Whittle, Secretary of UnionsWA, the peak council for trade unions in Western Australia, said: “Western Australia’s history of asbestos mining and use has led to countless deaths and suffering of ordinary people. We are proud to have supported efforts of our friends and neighbours in Indonesia to fight against this insidious industry and product. We must continue the fight in solidarity with our neighbours and ban this product."

Media enquires:
Chee Chee Leung, Maurice Blackburn, 0412 560 584 or

Maurice Blackburn media team

Our media team advises and supports Maurice Blackburn lawyers and clients during all forms of media engagement, including video and television appearances, radio, online and print media.

Please direct media inquiries to, or contact team members directly via the phone numbers below.


Jade Knight

National Manager Public Affairs, Media and communications

  • Brisbane, QLD
  • (07) 3016 0396
    0417 969 438

Michael Cooney

General Manager Public Affairs, Media and communications

  • Melbourne, VIC
  • (03) 9605 2700

Chee Chee Leung

Media Manager, Media and communications

  • Melbourne, VIC
  • (03) 9045 6941
    0412 560 584

Paddy Murphy

Media Manager, Media and communications

  • Melbourne, VIC
  • (03) 8102 2003
    0490 297 391

It doesn't cost you anything to know where you stand 

Office locations

We’re here to help. Get in touch with your local office.

Select your state below

We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Australian Capital Territory. If you need a lawyer in Canberra or elsewhere in Australian Capital Territory, please call us on 1800 675 346.

We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.