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News News Workers and public exposed to asbestos in Government buildings

Up to 50 State Government agencies have failed to properly identify and manage asbestos in Government buildings, leaving open the possibility of exposure of the deadly material.

Despite this, a cross-Government group established to ensure Departments properly identify and manage asbestos has been wound up under the Barnett State Government.

“Unions have been working hard to find out if Departments have up to date asbestos registers, and a plan to manage any asbestos present.

“Despite our best efforts, all we know is that up to 50 Departments have not complied. We believe this puts their workforce and the public at risk,” UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said today.

“We are not even sure of the details of who has not complied. The group set up to monitor this across government has been wound up by Treasury and they won’t release any more details.

“Workers and the public have a right to know if Government buildings they frequent have asbestos present, and if there is, if there’s a plan to deal with it.”

We call on Troy Buswell to make available

• the State Government’s justification in allowing Government agencies to not adequately identify or manage asbestos containing materials ;

• a list of Government departments and agencies who have and haven’t identified asbestos and have a plan to manage asbestos;

• resources for the process to be completed; and

• the  final Report from the State Government  Asbestos Steering  Committee to be made public.


This issue was highlighted in 2005 when WorkSafe issued improvement notices on the Department of Education and Training because of the Department’s management of asbestos in schools.

Then in 2007 the Auditor General found that a number of Government agencies lacked comprehensive asbestos registers and management strategies for their buildings.   In September 2007 the then Labor Government issued a directive that all Government agencies complete asbestos registers and management plans for their buildings within 12 months.

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