Interim Senate report shares concerns about asbestos imports

An interim senate report tabled last night included concerns about law enforcement agencies being able to deal with the illegal import of building products containing asbestos.

The ABC reports that only two have been fined for import breaches since tougher laws came into force in February 2014.

“The importation of banned materials, such as asbestos, raises very serious concerns about the capacity of Australian authorities to deal with this issue, particularly in light of our open and dynamic trade environment,” said the interim report, titled Safety – not a matter of good luck.

“…even though the importation into Australia of all types of asbestos and products containing asbestos is banned (except under limited circumstances) asbestos has been detected in a wide range of goods and materials imported into Australia, including in building and construction materials such as cement compound board.

Customs checked under five per cent of imports and it would be very difficult to know what contained the substance, the Asbestos Industry Association said in October last year.

The final reporting date has been pushed back a fourth time to September 30.