The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Summit was held at Old Parliament House from 26 to 28 November, 2017.
The format of the summit presented differently from previous conferences, with a major focus on debate for Australia’s next National Strategic Plan, inviting delegates to be involved in important discussions on the agency’s next steps to eradicate asbestos nationwide.
The summit welcomed over 250 delegates, and brought together well renowned local and international experts in asbestos management, health, advocacy and governance to look at what is best practice in managing the dangers of asbestos in our community and abroad.
Throughout the event, delegates received the most up to date knowledge on asbestos management and awareness from local and international speakers through a mixture of interactive plenary sessions, workshops, and social events. The summit also saw the launch of a range of new projects including the new agency website and asbestos awareness campaign which is set to be rolled out in 2018.
The summit also hosted an ‘Asbestos Museum’ which showcased a wide range of asbestos artefacts from raw asbestos samples to asbestos cigarettes – all of which highlighted the broad use and consequential impact of the deadly substance.
A pre-conference forum opened the summit, where summit facilitator Matt Peacock, Geoff Fary and Senator the Hon Lisa Singh discussed what has been achieved in Australia so far, and more importantly what our next steps should be in regards to asbestos management and awareness. This was then followed by the official welcome reception.
Day one of the summit covered a variety of topics such as: the importance of awareness campaigning from a public health perspective, the economic and social impact of asbestos-related disease and raising awareness on the risk of imported products containing asbestos. The three workshops covered NSP 1: Awareness, NSP 2: Best Practice and NSP 6: International Leadership. Following an engaging and thought provoking day, delegates had the chance to wind down and network at the gala dinner with a speaking appearance from Hon Bill Shorten MP, and laughs and entertainment with comedian Luke McGregor.
Day two plenary sessions covered: an international keynote from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment on their asbestos roofing removal program, the implications of ageing asbestos on our approach to removal and management, removal – considering different strategies, research – updates on prevention and research treatments, and the future of work – implications for asbestos management, removal, transport and disposal. The remaining three interactive workshops for the summit covered NSP 4: Removal, NSP 5: Research and NSP 3: Identification.
Presentations, discussions, comments and questions throughout the summit were recorded and documented so the feedback received can be considered during planning for Australia’s next National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Management and Awareness. The event again highlighted the important role that the agency plays in advocating for change on the ground, in Australia and internationally.
If you would like any further information or a copy of the presentations from the 2017 Asbestos Safety and Eradication Summit, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.