Managing importation of asbestos into Australia

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Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities - Rapid Response Protocol

The Rapid Response Protocol (the protocol) has been developed by the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) Imported Materials with Asbestos Working Group to enable government agencies to work cooperatively and efficiently across jurisdiction and portfolio lines when products have been identified as containing asbestos and there is concern such products may cross or have crossed state lines.  The protocol will ensure that pertinent information is shared by all government agencies with an interest in a particular incident and enable a nationally uniform compliance and enforcement approach to be undertaken in response to future incidents.

The objectives of the protocol are to:

  1. provide a consistent approach to the risk assessment and treatment of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) identified within Australia.

  2. ensure there is a balance of guidance available to the HWSA Imported Materials with Asbestos Working Group (Working Group) and flexibility to address a variety of scenarios.

  3. ensure secure handling of information in line with relevant legislation.

  4. reflect the expectations of the government and community.

  5. provide a clear guide for the allocation of resources in response to allegations made in the form of referrals to any of the members of the Working Group.

  6. allow for the sharing of information amongst members of the Working Group.

Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities - Rapid Response Protocol (PDF 422KB)

Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities - Rapid Response Protocol (DOCX 799KB)

Managing the importation of goods or materials containing asbestos into Australia - fact sheet

Asbestos is still widely used in some countries. Despite being a prohibited import in Australia, goods containing asbestos are still being located at the Australian border.

The below fact sheet outlines:

  • how the importation of asbestos is regulated at the Australian border and the products at particular risk of containing asbestos

  • what businesses importing material must do to ensure the imported products do not contain asbestos, and

  • what verifications exist for Australian importers or consumers to show those imported materials do not contain asbestos

Managing the importation of goods and materials containing asbestos into Australia - fact Sheet (PDF 417KB)

Managing the importation of goods and materials containing asbestos into Australia - fact Sheet (DOCX 40KB)

Prohibited and restricted importation - asbestos

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has important information on their website regarding prohibited and restricted imports which includes all forms of asbestos.

Testing goods or materials for asbestos in Australian laboratories 

A good way to determine if imported goods contains asbestos is to organise for a sample to be tested in Australia before the goods are imported into Australia. This fact sheet outlines the options for importers to follow.  

Safety Alerts

Health and safety alert - Asbestos in mineral kits (PDF 359KB)

Health and safety alert - Asbestos in mineral kits (DOCX 1.1MB)

Consumer/Retailer Alert - Asbestos identified in crayons sold within Australia (PDF 502KB)

Consumer/Retailer Alert - Asbestos identified in crayons sold within Australia (DOCX 1.37MB)

Recalls/voluntary recalls

eBay Trader "prolinedms" -- Frond brake pads used on Toyota Hilux and Toyota Hiace

Past safety alerts

Queensland Government - asbestos in crystals, stones and pendants

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - product safety recall - earth crystals-chrysotile healing crystals

Prosecutions and media

Border Force Media - Importing asbestos costs Perth man $14,500 - 17 December 2014

A 50-year-old Australian man has been fined $10,000 and required to pay $4,500 costs in the Perth Magistrates Court for importing asbestos into Australia, Wednesday 17 December 2014

Inventory of New Zealand imports and exports of asbestos-containing products

Report: Inventory of New Zealand Imports and Exports of Asbestos-Containing Products

The New Zealand Ministry for the Environment commissioned an investigation into imports and exports of asbestos-containing products, and how important these products are to New Zealand businesses. This report presents the findings of that investigation, providing a cohesive picture of the current uses of, and need for asbestos-containing products in New Zealand.