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Legislation and codes of practice
Asbestos is managed and controlled in Queensland by 10 main statutes and two codes of practice. These are administered by state government agencies and local councils.
- work health and safety legislation regulates the management, control and removal of asbestos in the workplace (including residential premises which are a 'workplace' when work is undertaken by a contractor).
- public health legislation applies to asbestos-related activities carried out at non-workplaces settings (i.e. by home owners at domestic premises).
The management of asbestos in non-workplaces is the responsibility of local governments under public health legislation. Queensland Health provides information and advice to the general public on asbestos and its health risks and works in partnership with other government agencies in response to incidents involving asbestos.
- environmental protection and waste legislation regulates the transportation of commercial and industrial waste; the licensing of disposal facilities (such as landfills); and notification and remediation of contaminated land.
- Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act)
- Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 (EP Regulation)
- Environmental Protection (Waste Management) Regulation 2000 (EP Waste Regulation).
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection(DEHP) maintains a public register of contaminated land (including land contaminated by asbestos). It also regulates the transportation and disposal of asbestos waste.
Some of the DEHP powers are delegated or devolved to local councils. For example, while the DEHP is responsible for licensing disposal facilities, councils are responsible for the management of landfills and transfer stations where asbestos is accepted.
Councils are also responsible for cleaning up the illegal dumping of asbestos material under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) (where council officers are undertaking any clean-up) and any relevant local laws.
- mining and quarrying legislation regulates the risks posed by naturally occurring asbestos that may be exposed during mining processes within the mining and quarrying industries and asbestos materials installed in buildings and plant on mine sites.
- building standards and approval legislation regulates building standards and approval processes through the Building Act 1975, including the demolition of buildings and structures which contain asbestos. Councils have the responsibility for administering this legislation.
- residential tenancies authority legislation
The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) provides tenancy information, bond management, dispute resolution, investigation, policy and education services.
Asbestos in government assets policies apply to all government departments and impose obligations to manage and control asbestos in government-controlled assets, including workplaces, employee housing and public housing.
The Department of Housing and Public Works' (DHPW) undertakes a lead agency role on asbestos management for assets managed or controlled by government departments. DHPW oversees and supports the implementation of the Queensland Government Asbestos Management Policy for its Assets, which applies to all government departments.
Find out more about asbestos in government assets including public schools.
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
An Australia-wide ban on the importation, manufacture and use of all forms of asbestos and asbestos containing products took effect from 31 December 2003. To complement this ban, the import prohibition on asbestos under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 was also introduced. Importing asbestos into Australia is only allowed under very limited circumstances.