Remote indigenous communities face unique challenges in dealing with the presence of asbestos, a new government report has revealed.
The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) commissioned a nationwide study into asbestos management practices in an effort to mitigate the ongoing risks that the hazardous material presents.
Asbestos exposure can result in various fatal diseases, the most dangerous of which are asbestosis and mesothelioma. The substance was used extensively in building materials and other industrial products throughout the 1960s and 1970s before the risks were fully realised.
However, mesothelioma and asbestosis symptoms often take decades to appear, meaning many sufferers are only now being diagnosed. NSW Health claims that different types of asbestos also pose different risk levels, with airborne fibres considered the most dangerous.
Anyone who develops a dust disease due to exposure during employment may be entitled to compensation in NSW.
The effect on remote communities
Peter Tighe, chief executive officer of the ASEA, said asbestos is a significant problem across the entire country, but remote regions encounter specific issues with management and removal.
“Indigenous corporations and land councils inherited ageing infrastructure that was full of asbestos – structures such as housing, churches and public buildings – and they require targeted resources to deal with this legacy,” he explained.
“The cost of removing asbestos in remote areas is up to three times higher than for other parts of the country. And in most cases the communities have limited resources and many other priorities to address.”
According to Mr Tighe, ASEA’s research brings innovative solutions to the problems that these communities face. However, he acknowledged that every region is different, so the report provides a variety of options to fit each area’s specific needs.
The ASEA report highlights seven approaches that can help local governments and other authorities work with remote communities to deliver more effective asbestos management processes. These are:
“The findings of this study will give remote communities and governments practical options to consider, which can overcome the enormous obstacles to dealing with asbestos,” Mr Tighe stated.
Has mesothelioma or asbestosis affected you or your family? Please get in touch with Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today for more information.