National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management 2019-2023 (NSP 2019-2023)

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Government sector employers

Western Australian State and Local government agencies will be required to identify and assess the risks associated with asbestos-containing materials within government-controlled buildings, land and infrastructure as part of the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management 2019-2023 (NSP 2019-2023).  When reporting to DMIRS please use the NSP 2019-2023 Reporting Template not the versions on the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency website.

Background

Australia has one of the highest rates of asbestos-related diseases in the world, with approximately 4,000 deaths each year from exposure to asbestos – more than double the number of annual Australian road deaths. Many public and commercial buildings, homes and infrastructure contain large amounts of ageing asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). 

In November 2019, the Australian Government Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) released the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management (NSP) 2019–2023. The NSP utilises a phased approach to eliminate asbestos-related diseases in Australia, by preventing exposure to asbestos fibres. The NSP aims to ensure that there is a nationally consistent and coordinated approach to asbestos awareness, management and removal.

The NSP 2019-2023  includes nine targets, which build on the previous NSP’s  (NSP 2014–2018) progress in relation to asbestos policies and actions at all levels of government.  The NSP 2019-2023 recognises that governments and regulatory agencies, along with businesses, unions, individual organisations, advocacy groups, researchers and members of the community, all need to work together to support coordinated and more effective asbestos management.

NSP 2019-2023 in Western Australia

On 9 November 2020, the Western Australian State Government endorsed targets one to seven of the NSP 2019-2023 (targets eight and nine are the responsibility of the Federal government), to identify and safely remove asbestos from publicly-owned buildings, if required.

As a result, starting from the 2021-22 financial year, Western Australian State and Local Government departments, agencies, authorities and government enterprises (government organisations) are required to: 

  • identify and assess the risk of ACM in the buildings and facilities that they own or occupy;
  • develop and maintain risk based management plans for management of asbestos, including schedules and processes for the prioritised safe removal and disposal of the asbestos where required or feasible opportunities exist (NOTE: The management of low to medium risk ACMs in-situ is permitted and removal is not mandated. Where practicable, ACM removal should be planned during opportunities for remedial works, such as refurbishment or upgrade works. Reporting to ASEA will therefore focus on the removal of high-risk asbestos.);
  • provide six-monthly NSP 2019-2023 progress reports to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), which DMIRS will then collate and submit; and
  • include information in their annual reports on NSP 2019-2023 targets.

The NSP 2019-2023 Reporting Template is under development.

ASEA advises that the NSP 2019-2023 does not impose strict deadlines for the removal of asbestos containing material by 2023. The year 2023 only indicates the end of the second stage of a phased approach to managing Australia’s asbestos legacy.

Across Agency Asbestos Group (AAAG)

As the cross-agency asbestos coordination group in Western Australia, AAAG is strategically positioned to consider the activities of all government agencies with asbestos-related responsibilities.

Consultation in relation to the strategy for Western Australia’s implementation of the NSP 2019-2023 will occur through the AAAG, which meets regularly throughout the year. AAAG will be involved in developing and monitoring planned activities to ensure a coordinated and systematic approach is taken to asbestos management.

AAAG membership comprises of representatives from the following organisations:

WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner (Chair)
Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA)
Department of Communities
Department of Education
Department of Finance
Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES)
Department of Health
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC)
Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS)
Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH)
Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER)
Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA)

Resources

 

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