Senate debates

Monday, 4 December 2017


National Asbestos Awareness Week

4:22 pm

Photo of Anne UrquhartAnne Urquhart (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

At the request of Senator Singh, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) that this week is National Asbestos Awareness Week,

(ii) the success of this week’s Asbestos Safety and Eradication Summit, which was hosted by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency at Old Parliament House in Canberra, in reviewing what has been achieved in coordinating and implementing the 2014-18 National Strategic Plan and setting the scene for the next phase of asbestos safety and eradication in Australia’s next National Strategic Plan, and

(iii) that the Government has not committed to ongoing funding for the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency;

(b) further notes:

(i) the ongoing importance of the Parliamentary Friendship Group on Asbestos Related Diseases in raising awareness in Parliament of the asbestos scourge,

(ii) that Australia has one of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world,

(iii) that as many as 40 000 Australians will be diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease in the next 20 years, and

(iv) that Australians are being exposed to a wide range of imported goods and materials containing asbestos that are not being detected by our customs services, including fibre cement sheets and children’s crayons; and

(c) supports:

(i) the 2017 Asbestos Awareness Month national campaign which aims to inform homeowners, renovators, tradespeople and handymen about the dangers of asbestos in and around homes and how to manage it safely, and

(ii) the recommendations in the recent interim report of the Economics References Committee, Protecting Australians from the threat of asbestos, inquiring into the effects of non-conforming building products on the Australian building and construction industry.

Photo of James McGrathJames McGrath (Queensland, Liberal National Party, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President, Special Minister of State) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of James McGrathJames McGrath (Queensland, Liberal National Party, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

The government rejects the assertion that the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency is not adequately funded. The government is committed to ensuring the agency's adequately funded to meet its statutory obligations. This is evidenced by the additional funding of $3.4 million provided by the government to the agency over the last two financial years. Without the additional funding provided by the government in the 2016-17 budget, the agency's funding for 2017-18 would be $1.4 million less. The government is currently carefully considering funding levels as part of the budget process and is committed to ensuring that the agency continues to be properly resourced.

Question agreed to.