The use, or re-use, of all forms of asbestos is banned in Australia.
Asbestos products are common in properties constructed or renovated up to the mid 1980’s. If your house contains fibrous cement sheeting (fibro) installed before the mid 1980’s, there is a high chance that it contains asbestos fibres.
Common uses of asbestos in buildings include: flat (fibro), corrugated or compressed asbestos-cement sheeting; water, drainage pipes, flue pipes and floor tiles.
Not sure if you're dealing with asbestos? Get it tested
If you are renovating or repairing a property and are unsure if the product you are working with is asbestos get it tested by a NATA laboratory (National Association of Testing Authorities). Otherwise assume it contains asbestos and follow the WorkCover NSW Working With Asbestos Guide 2008.
An asbestos licence is required to remove more than 10m2
From 1 January 2008 a bonded asbestos licence is required for the removal of more that 10 square metres of bonded asbestos.
A licence holder with a bonded asbestos removal licence can remove any amount of bonded asbestos provided they notify WorkCover at least seven days before commencing work. Bonded asbestos licence holders are not allowed to remove, repair or disturb any amount of friable asbestos.
What is bonded asbestos?
Bonded asbestos material is any material that contains asbestos in a bonded matrix, it cannot be crushed by hand when dry (WorkCover NSW Working with Asbestos Guide 2008).
It is not until bonded asbestos is damaged that the fibres are released. If fire, hail, or illegal water blasting damages bonded asbestos, it may become friable asbestos material.
What is friable asbestos?
Friable asbestos material is any material that contains asbestos and is in the form of a powder, or can be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry (WorkCover NSW Working with Asbestos Guide 2008).
Licensed friable asbestos removalist required
A WorkCover licensed friable asbestos removalist must always carry out the removal of friable asbestos. They must also obtain a site-specific permit from WorkCover to carry out this type of work.
Disposing of asbestos within Muswellbrook Shire
Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA) - Local government fact sheet
The below fact sheet details where asbestos may be found in a home and who to contact for the safe management, removal and disposal of asbestos.