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Aim of the National Strategic Plan
The National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management (NSP) aims to eliminate asbestos-related diseases in Australia by preventing exposure to asbestos fibres.
To do this, we need to effectively deal with the harmful legacy of asbestos in our homes, workplaces and the environment. The NSP ensures there is a nationally consistent and coordinated approach to asbestos awareness, management and removal. It outlines a phased approach to eliminating asbestos-related diseases in Australia.
Phase one of the NSP went from 2014–2018, and we are now in phase two, 2019 - 2023.
NSP 2019–2023 builds on the previous plan’s progress. It complements and enhances existing asbestos policies, plans and actions at all levels of government. It recognises that governments and regulatory agencies, along with businesses, unions, individual organisations, advocacy groups, researchers and members of the community, all need to work together to support coordinated and more effective asbestos management.
Government agenciesA range of Commonwealth, state and territory and local government agencies have the overarching role to develop policy or coordinate its implementation. They set the strategic direction and have responsibility for the different aspects of the legislative framework for asbestos safety.
Commonwealth, state and territory and local government agencies lead policy development in:
- Work health and safety
- Border Protection
- Foreign Affairs
- Industry, innovation and science
- Consumer affairs
Commonwealth, state and territory and local government agencies enforce compliance in:
- Work health and safety
- Environmental protection
- Public health
- Consumer rights
- Building safety
- Transport and heavy vehicles
- Border protection
Non-government groups undertake a range of activities and collaborate with each other and government organisations to share solutions and resources.
- Business – mange asbestos risks associated with their business or undertaking including the safety of their workers and members of the public.
- Employer representatives – help businesses understand and manage risk and innovate.
- Unions and worker representatives – advocate for, and support workers’ health and safety.
- Homeowners and occupiers – follow good practice when living with or handling ACMs so as not harm themselves or others.
- Specialist advisors / Training organisations – support the health and safety knowledge and capability of workers, businesses, and industry.
- ADR advocacy and support groups – advocate for and support the victims of ARD; commission and fund research and influence better outcomes for workers.
- Researchers and Universities – identify new trends and emerging risks, and suggest practical, effective and evidence-based solutions.
- Media – help raise community attitudes of ACMs and encourage safe behaviours.
As the level of government closest to builders and do-it-yourself (DIY) home renovators, local governments play and vital role in asbestos safety. They can help educate their communities and often have the responsibility for local asbestos waste and disaster management.
Local government has an important role in:
- Educate the community about Asbestos safety
- Work health and safety of council workers.
- Local environmental protection.
- Local asbestos waste management.
- Local planning and development.
- Managing asbestos in local public buildings.
Government and regulatory agencies, as signatories to the NSP, are responsible for taking action to improve asbestos management. They will implement the NSP, and Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) will support them by encouraging, coordinating, and monitoring their efforts, as well as reporting on their successes and challenges. ASEA will also liaise with all levels of government for a midpoint review of the NSP.
How the National Strategic Plan works
NSP 2019–2023 has four national priorities to focus strategic actions, which together aim to improve asbestos awareness and management. It also has nine national stretch targets that help us remain focused and measure our progress over the life of the plan.
The NSP 2019–2023 priorities are (1) asbestos awareness, (2) identification, (3) removal and (4) international collaboration. The NSP 2019–2023 targets reflect how effective our combined strategic actions under each of the four national priorities are. Targets will be measured using a variety of tools, including surveys and data sets, and relate to requirements within existing regulatory frameworks and government policy.
Putting the National Strategic Plan in action
ASEA has prepared a mid-term progress report that examines achievements against the nine national targets based on information provided by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments for 2020-2021 and relevant research undertaken by ASEA. It highlights activities undertaken in relation to asbestos awareness, identification, prioritised removal, waste management, compliance and enforcement, as well as work to progress asbestos bans internationally.
ASEA also completed a midpoint review to ensure the Asbestos National Strategic Plan remains focussed and effective in achieving the aim of eliminating asbestos-related diseases in Australia. In undertaking this review, ASEA consulted key stakeholders and analysed the mid-term progress results.
During the life of NSP 2014–2018 we coordinated and reported on its implementation. Annual progress reports were published which detailed the activities undertaken by state, territory and Australian Government agencies.
A total of 126 activities were reported as completed and over 60 activities continued into the next phase of the plan, demonstrating active engagement in the awareness and management of asbestos. While progress was made, the extent of Australia’s harmful asbestos legacy means that more work is required to secure effective legacy management in order to achieve our aim.