Asbestos is commonly found in building products in homes built before 1980. Products made from asbestos cement - bonded asbestos material - include fibro sheeting (flat and corrugated) as well as water, drainage and flue pipes, roofing shingles and guttering. See the fact sheet on the documents section.
The manufacture and use of asbestos products was banned nationally from December 31, 2003.
Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. The risk of contracting these diseases increases with the number of fibres inhaled and the risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibres is also greater if you smoke. People who get health problems from inhaling asbestos have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.
Since January 1, 2008, a bonded asbestos licence has been required in NSW to remove more than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos material. A licensed asbestos removalist can remove any amount of bonded asbestos material. Licensing for asbestos removalists is regulated and administered by WorkCover NSW. The two types of asbestos licences are designated as AS1 and AS2 licenses:
- AS1 licences the operator to carry out work with friable and bonded asbestos.
- AS2 licences the operator to carry out work with bonded asbestos only.
Council’s Roles and Responsibilities
Council is involved with all development within the local government area and requires compliance with guidelines in relation to asbestos through the development control process. Council also has obligations under various provisions of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997. There are heavy penalties for not complying with the above mentioned legislation.
WorkCover NSW provides extensive guidelines and legislative requirements for dealing with asbestos. See "Working with asbestos guide - WorkCover NSW" on the documents section for more information on managing asbestos.
The Office of Environment & Heritage (OE&H) has produced a brochure on safely disposing asbestos waste which you can find on the documents section.
All asbestos must be correctly disposed at a licenced waste facility able to accept asbestos waste.
Reporting Incorrect Handling of Asbestos
If you have any concerns regarding the way asbestos is being handled, all complaints relating to the removal of asbestos by builders and demolition companies should be referred to WorkCover NSW on 13 10 50. In situations where there are concerns regarding the removal of asbestos and it is not a work situation, contact Compliance Services on 9942 2111.