The Department of Education and Training's asbestos management
guidelines will be available online from today.
The strengthened guidelines follow a review of The Department of Education and Training's asbestos management policies and procedures by independent asbestos expert John Gaskin.
Education and Training Minister Geoff Wilson said the draft guidelines were published online in June after Mr Gaskin's report was delivered to government.
"All of the recommendations in Mr Gaskin's report were considered and implemented," he said.
"In developing these strengthened guidelines we also consulted with education representatives including the Queensland Parents and Citizens Associations, Principal Associations, the Queensland Teachers Union, the Queensland Public Sector Union and industry-recognised experts.
"The Department's asbestos policy and management plan is the toughest and most transparent in Australia.
Asbestos containing material is found in around one-third of all Queensland buildings.
"The management of asbestos is a challenge for the whole community - this includes state schools, where the safety of staff and students is our highest priority.
"Here in Queensland we've established Australian best practice based on how to manage asbestos containing materials in state schools.
"State school staff are receiving training to ensure they understand the new processes and are able to carry out their roles and responsibilities. This training will continue in Terms one and two next year.
"This Government didn't put the asbestos in our state schools, but we are removing it through an annual building maintenance inspection and asbestos removal program.
"Despite being told in 1974 that asbestos was a dangerous product, the Liberals and Nationals continued for the next 15 years to pump asbestos products into state schools.
"It took a Labor Government to put a stop to this dangerous practice and end the use of asbestos products into state schools.
The Department of Education and Training is continuing to strengthen its asbestos management program, with major reforms undertaken in the last 12 months, including;
-The revised toughened asbestos guidelines.
-The appointment of John Gaskin as Chief Asbestos Safety Advisor to provide continuing independent and expert advice.
-The appointment of UQ Associate Professor of Occupational Medicine, Dr Keith Adams, as Chief Health Advisor to provide ongoing advice regarding health issues associated with asbestos incidents and management to the Department, schools and parents.
-The formation of the DET Asbestos Expert Advisory Panel and Asbestos Stakeholders Reference Panel to help inform best practice in ongoing asbestos management. Contractors found to have contravened asbestos regulations in our state schools are dealt with severely. This includes a range of sanctions up to and including the inability to perform future work on or in DET facilities.
-And the asbestos register (BEMIR), previously available at schools, was published online for all to access. Queensland is one of only two states to have done this.
Minister for Education and Training
The Honourable Geoff Wilson
Tough new Asbestos Management Guidelines go online