Working with governments
Asbestos issues are broad and relevant to a range of areas including work health and safety, environment, public health, planning and emergency response.
It is important that all levels of government work together and take an active role in the eradication, handling and awareness of asbestos to assist in reducing asbestos-related diseases.
To achieve this objective, a government stakeholder group has been established to advise and assist in the decision making process:
The Asbestos Interdepartmental Committee (IDC) is made up of representatives from Australian Government departments and agencies.
The IDC will meet several times a year to participate in the ongoing development and implementation of the National Strategic Plan (NSP).
The development of the agency’s annual operational plans are informed by consultations with these groups.
Working with stakeholders
Safe asbestos management and awareness is a matter of interest to a broad range of stakeholders including local government and councils, industry, unions, organisations that advocate asbestos safety and the community in general.
To ensure that the community’s concerns are heard and addressed, the agency will work in partnership with its stakeholders to make sure that the priority areas of the NSP reflect the needs of the community.
The development of the agency’s annual operational plans will be informed by consultations with these stakeholder groups.
Under section 24(1) of the ASEA Act, the CEO may establish committees to assist in the performance of his or her functions and the functions of the council. To support the coordination and operation of the NSP, four committees and working groups were operating in 2016–17: the Building, Construction and Demolition Sectors Committee, the Technical Research Advisory Committee, the Asbestos Waste Working Group and the Asbestos Communications Working Group.
Building, Construction and Demolition Sectors Committee (BCDS)
The BCDS held its inaugural meeting on 11 December 2014 and will meet at least three times per year to provide advice to the agency on issues relating to the management of asbestos in the building, construction and demolition sectors and the implementation of the NSP.
The BCDS committee membership is comprised of industry, employer and employee representatives from the building, construction and demolition sectors, including:
- Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU)
- Master Builders Association (MBA)
- Electrical Trades Union (ETU)
- Housing Industry Association (HIA)
- Plumbing Trades Employees Union (PTEU)
- National Fire Industry Association (NFIA)
- Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA)
- Demolition Contractors Association (DCA)
- Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
- National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA)
- Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors’ Association of Australia (ACMCAA)
- Australian Constructors Association / Australian Industry Group (ACA/AIG)
- Australian Workers Union (AWU)
- Master Plumbers (MPMSAA)
- Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)
- Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).
Technical Research Advisory Committee (TRAC)
TRAC held its inaugural meeting on 25 June 2015. The membership of the committee includes experts in public health, epidemiology, work health and safety and economic analysis. TRAC will meet at least three times per year to provide advice to the agency on technical research projects.
Asbestos Waste Working Group (AWWG)
The AWWG consists of representatives from the environmental protection authorities and agencies across Australia including the Commonwealth Department of the Environment as well as state and territory bodies. The group has been convened to identify best practice for transport, storage and disposal of asbestos-containing materials, in line with deliverable 2.4 of the National Strategic Plan.
Asbestos Communications Working Group (ACWG)
The ACWG held its inaugural teleconference meeting in April 2017 and was established to share information about communications campaigns in the states and territories and collaborate on national asbestos awareness campaigns being developed by the agency.
The membership of the ACWG includes media and communications representatives for the state and territory workplace health and safety regulators, Safe Work Australia, Department of Health and other members as required.
Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities Imported Materials With Asbestos Working Group (Working Group)
The agency is the secretariat for the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities Imported Materials With Asbestos Working Group (HWSA Working Group) which was established to deal with incidences of asbestos-containing materials being imported into Australia in contravention of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.
The Working Group meets on an ad hoc basis to determine a course of action when asbestos-containing materials have been imported into Australia and detected in more than one jurisdiction, as outlined in the Rapid Response Protocol. The Working Group reports back to HWSA on the outcomes of discussions, through the secretariat following these instances and on a periodical basis.
Asbestos Support Group Network (ASGN)
The Asbestos Support Group Network is a coalition of all community-based asbestos-related disease support groups across Australia who are mainly funded by charitable donations, grant funding and fundraising events. These groups provide assistance and support to members of the community who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and their families and friends, which can be a traumatic time for all involved.
The network holds meetings to be kept informed about decisions made at the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council meetings and other asbestos-related issues that arise from time to time. The agency provides secretariat support for ASGN meetings including preparation, minute taking and teleconference facilities.