The Baird government must urgently introduce measures that will curb deadly illegal asbestos dumping and commit to the safe removal of asbestos from our built environment once and for all. 

Reports today that a 50 metre trail of asbestos laden material was found near homes in western Sydney is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to illegal dumping, unions fear. Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey said unless the safe and proper removal of asbestos was funded, illegal dumping would continue by unscrupulous builders and renovators trying to avoid costly disposal.

“This problem is not going to go away. It’s time the Baird government faced up to the reality that until the safe and legal removal of asbestos is properly funded, whole communities are being put at risk,” Mr Morey said.

Unions NSW is pushing for funding for local governments to build the infrastructure and recruit the personnel needed to safely receive contained asbestos, as well as the introduction of an asbestos eradication fund to reduce workers’ and the community’s exposure to asbestos. The fund would be levied on construction materials so that asbestos removal can be adequately resourced.

'Local governments and government workers are bearing the heavy costs and risks involved in removing deadly fibres from public spaces. This is not sustainable,” Mr Morey said.

"Every year more than 1000 people die from asbestos related diseases with an alarming rise in the number of deaths due to non-occupational exposure. We have to remove the cycle of exposure to asbestos if we are going to stop the intergenerational carnage being experienced by our community.

“Much of the asbestos in the built environment is now disintegrating and the bonding is beginning to fail, making it friable and highly dangerous. If the Premier wants to get serious about this he needs to scrap the current waste levy to curb this deadly dumping and ensure residential properties are given full tax deductibility to encourage its safe removal.

“Both the Baird and Abbott-Turnbull Governments recently stepped back on their financial commitment to remove asbestos from all government and commercial buildings by 2030.

“The number of deaths from asbestos related diseases is set to substantially exceed the national road toll when cases peak. It’s time for a coordinated response to limit exposure to this deadly dust.”

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