It’s an unenviable fact that living in Australia means potentially living with asbestos.

The reality is that dealing with the ongoing legacy of asbestos is an enormous challenge with no easy path to resolution. As a nation we are still coming to grips with the full impact and reach of this deadly material. As one of the biggest users of asbestos-containing materials, Australia has one of the highest reported per-capita rates of mesothelioma in the world.

With up to one in three Australian homes containing asbestos, families doing simple renovation jobs around the house run the risk of exposure without even realising it. We have more work to do to raise overall awareness about the dangers of being exposed to asbestos – not just at work, but in our own communities.

The Australian Government strongly believes in the need for a coordinated national approach to tackling asbestos.

Addressing the scourge that is asbestos will require a concerted effort from a diverse group of stakeholders including government, researchers, industry, employer groups, employee representatives, asbestos-related disease societies and advocates, and public health bodies. The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency has worked with state and territory governments to revise this National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Management and Awareness to ensure that right around Australia, we are working together to reduce the risks posed by asbestos and deliver a plan that represents the expertise and experience of government, industry and the community.

On behalf of the Australian Government, I look forward to working with all levels of government to promote awareness and deliver practical, long-term solutions to this difficult problem.

Senator the Hon Eric Abetz
Minister for Employment