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Monday, 21 November 2011
Page: 9015


Senator SINGH (Tasmania) (15:34): I, and also on behalf of Senator Xenophon, move:

That the Senate—

   (a)   formally marks National Asbestos Awareness Week, which this year is being held between 21 November to 25 November 2011, by affirming its support for the historic decision by Australia in 1993 to ban the production, importation and use of asbestos;

   (b)   notes the terrible legacy that asbestos has left on the Australian community, leaving us with one of the highest rates of asbestos-related diseases in the world;

   (c)   extends its sympathies to all individuals living with asbestos-related diseases and the friends and families of those who have sadly passed away as a result of asbestos-related disease; and

   (d)   commends the Government on its efforts to eradicate asbestos from workplaces, homes and the community, including through:

      (i)   the recent ratification of the Inter¬≠national Labour Organization (ILO) Asbestos Convention, as one of the first ILO conventions to be ratified by the Commonwealth Government since 2006,

      (ii)   its work at the 2011 Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent to have chrysotile asbestos listed in the convention,

      (iii)   the $5 million grant made to support the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute's Bernie Banton Centre,

      (iv)   funding for the new Australian Mesothelioma Registry, which was launched in 2010 to gather more detailed and accurate information on mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases,

      (v)   support for the harmonisation of health and safety legislation which will provide, for the first time, a uniform framework for the minimisation of exposure, the removal of asbestos and the management of asbestos materials in the workplace,

      (vi)   the establishment of the Asbestos Management Review in late 2010 to recommend strategies for the development of a national strategic plan to improve asbestos awareness, management and removal,

      (vii)   the loan agreement with the New South Wales Government to ensure asbestos victims and their families continue to receive payments through the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund, and

      (viii)   the $1.5 million Comcare Asbestos Innovation Fund which sponsors programs and research to prevent and better manage asbestos exposure, as well as improving the treatment for asbestos disease sufferers.

Question agreed to.