Comprehensive ban on Asbestos
An Australia-wide ban on the use of all types of asbestos took effect on 31 December 2003. Work Health and Safety (WHS) and environment laws in all states and territories prohibit the unauthorized supply, transport, use (including manufacturing), or handling of asbestos. Australia is one of the few countries in the Asia/Pacific region that has a comprehensive ban on all six types of asbestos. In many countries, despite the known threat to human health, local standards allow low levels of particular types of asbestos to be used for manufacturing. Goods manufactured outside Australia might be labelled “asbestos free” and still contain low levels of asbestos. Such goods will not be permitted for import into Australia, except in very limited circumstances.
Ensuring the goods do not contain asbestos
It is the responsibility of importers and exporters to ensure they do not import or export prohibited goods such as asbestos. They be assured that no asbestos is present at the time of import or export.
There are factors that increase the risk of importing goods that contain asbestos. Definitive enquiries should be made with suppliers outside Australia about any use of asbestos at the point of manufacture, before importing the goods into Australia.
Importers should be aware of the increased risk of goods containing asbestos when sourced from countries that have asbestos producing industries. Goods that are manufactured in the same factory that produce asbestos containing goods are considered a risk due to possible cross contamination.
To ensure that goods which are manufactured overseas do not contain asbestos, importers should question their overseas suppliers about the use of asbestos at any point in the supply chain.
If the Australian Border Force suspects that goods arriving at the border contain asbestos, the goods are detained and examined.
Documents that provides sufficient assurance must be provided. The importer may be required to arrange testing and certification by a ‘competent person’ to ensure there is no presence of asbestos. The arrangement and cost of any independent inspection, testing and storage of the goods is the responsibility of the importer/exporter in Australia