A WARRNAMBOOL asbestos removalist says houses built as late as 1990 are likely to contain asbestos.
Andrew Morrison’s comments come after the federal government announced it would act on the recommendations of its own asbestos management review by setting up a national agency to oversee the removal of the deadly material from all government and commercial buildings by 2030.
Mr Morrison, from Andrew’s Asbestos Solutions, has 10 years in the industry and said it was difficult to put a number of the houses in Warrnambool which would be affected.
“There are a hell of a lot though,” he said.
“It was used way back in the ’30s and ’40s and right through to the late ’80s.
“It can be a danger if people aren’t aware and it’s broken up.
“It can be in vinyl floor covering and cement sheeting.
“There were so many products affected by it.
“If the house was built before 1987, even 1990, there is a fair chance it would have asbestos.”
Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten told ABC Radio the government fundamentally believed it needed a national approach to asbestos
“It can’t just be left to local government, state government and different federal agencies,” Mr Shorten said.
“There’s no doubt in my mind (that) part of their response will have to be a co-ordinated national body to assist with the research, education and identification of asbestos risk.
“If we know Australians will renovate their homes ... and people will be in public buildings which will eventually be upgraded or renovated, then don’t we have an obligation to start tackling the cause of the risk?”
Labor’s asbestos management review, released in mid-August, recommended the Commonwealth lead the charge on developing a national strategic plan.
The review states that a national agency should be set up to implement the plan.
It also recommended reporting asbestos in residential homes built prior to 1987 with a labelling system to alert buyers, tenants and renovators to the presence of the material.
General manager of building organisation Archicentre, David Hallett, said the real risk of exposure to asbestos fibres and dust occurs with the demolition, drilling or cutting of products.
“Large numbers of houses throughout Australia have been constructed using asbestos-cement products as internal and external wall linings, ceiling linings and roofing,” he said.
“Asbestos was used in flat-sheet fibro-cement building products until 1982 and in corrugated fibro-cement roofing material until 1986 because of its cheapness and ease of installation.”