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Wednesday, 10 February 1999
Page: 2415

Mr McClelland asked the Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, upon notice, on 24 November 1998:

Has the Government considered ratifying ILO Convention No. 162 regarding the prevention and control of health hazards due to occupational exposure to asbestos; if so, what action will the Government take.

Mr Reith (Workplace Relations and Small Business) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

ILO Convention No. 162, Asbestos, 1986 was identified as an appropriate target for ratification for Australia by the Labour Ministers Council in October 1992 and the National Labour Consultative Council (most recently in September 1994). No recent consideration has been given to ratification.

Australia's treaty-making policy, adopted in 1996, requires compliance to be established prior to ratification of a treaty. This principle reflects usual practice in relation to ILO Conventions, in that they are considered for ratification by Australia only when law and practice in all relevant jurisdictions is in compliance with the provisions of the Convention and when all State and Territory governments that have an interest in the Convention have formally agreed to ratification.

South Australia formally agreed to ratification of ILO Convention No 162 in 1991 and Queensland formally agreed to ratification in 1992. The other jurisdictions have not yet advised the Commonwealth of their position with regard to ratification.