Asbestos Management Policy

Mid-Western Regional Council acknowledges the serious health hazard of exposure to asbestos.

In Australia, asbestos was gradually phased out of building materials in the 1980s and the supply and installation of asbestos containing goods has been prohibited since 31 December 2003. Yet asbestos legacy materials still exist in many homes, buildings and other assets and infrastructure. It is estimated that one in three Australian homes contains asbestos.

Mid-Western Regional Council (MWRC) acknowledges that due to the age of some Council buildings and structures in the Region that there will be some materials containing asbestos present, and it has an obligation to ensure that they are managed in accordance with legislative requirements to prevent health and environmental related risks.

Where material containing asbestos is in a non-friable form (that is, cannot be crushed by hand into a powder), undisturbed and painted or otherwise sealed, it may remain safely in place. However, where asbestos containing material is broken, damaged, disturbed or mishandled, fibres can become loose and airborne posing a risk to health. Breathing in dust containing asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

It is often difficult to identify the presence of asbestos by sight. Where a material cannot be identified or is suspected to be asbestos, it is best to assume that the material is asbestos and take appropriate precautions. Further information about asbestos and the health impacts of asbestos can be found in Appendix A and website links to additional information are provided in Appendix B.

Council has an important dual role in minimising exposure to asbestos, as far as is reasonably practicable, for both:

  • residents and the public within the Local Government Area (LGA)
  • workers (employees and other persons) in council workplaces.

Council’s legislative functions for minimising the risks from asbestos apply in various scenarios including:

  • as a responsible employer
  • contaminated land management
  • council land, building and asset management
  • emergency response
  • land use planning (including development approvals and demolition)
  • management of naturally occurring asbestos
  • regulation of activities (non-work sites)
  • waste management and regulation.

To view the full policy, please click (PDF 969Kb)