Government releases information on importing asbestos

Date: Sep 28, 2015

Asbestos is a stubborn problem across Australia. Although once considered safe, the building material is the cause of mesothelioma, asbestosis and other fatal illnesses.

The problem has reached such a scale that 6,492 Australians died from mesothelioma alone between 1997 and 2009, according to the Asbestos Disease Research Institute. Over the next four decades, a further 25,000 people are expected to be fatally affected by the disease, Asbestos.com says.

Removal of the material from Australian homes and commercial property is complicated and difficult, and when organisations fail to provide the right protection, there is usually a substantial case to make a compensation claim.

A ban on manufacturing and using all types of asbestos began all over Australia in December 2003, though certain conditions still exist that enable the carcinogenic substance to make its way into the country from foreign shores.

Asbestos still an import risk

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service aims to lower the substantial risk that imported products made with asbestos pose to Australians, and has released a fact sheet on the strictly controlled methods asbestos still makes its way into the country.

“Asbestos has recently been detected in a wide range of imported goods, including gaskets, jointing materials in flues, furnaces, ducts, pipe spools, heating equipment and pressurised hoses. It has also been detected in packaging for these goods,” the fact sheet read.

Most of the time, these items are seized and destroyed at the border; however, there are some asbestos-containing products that are allowed into Australia under certain circumstances. The following items can legally make their way into the country:

  • Goods with traces of chrysotile asbestos if the substance occurs naturally in raw materials
  • Goods that fall under the rules defined by the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act, 1989
  • Products for research, analysis or display, with special ministerial permission granted and in accordance with workplace safety laws
  • Goods with chrysotile asbestos traces that are imported from the Australian Antarctic Territory

Seeking compensation

Australian law has strict penalties for importers who bring in items containing asbestos that do not meet these requirements. Without a permit, authorities hand out fines of up to $170,000 to offenders. However, that does not help those who have been exposed to the carcinogenic substances.

The effects of asbestos exposure are often severely detrimental to a person’s health and well-being. Even though asbestos can, in some cases, legally find its way into Australia, it is up to employers to prevent it having an impact on their workers.

That’s why seeking compensation is a fair way for sufferers to ensure they receive adequate compensation for mesothelioma or asbestosis exposure.

A dedicated lawyer will help you build a case and seek the compensation you deserve. Contact Gerard Malouf and Partners for expert advice and support when making an asbestos claim.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.