New South Wales (NSW) is taking decisive action to manage the asbestos legacy in our built environment. Asbestos is a material that appears in so many scenarios, from disaster response to playing fields. Managing it well is complex and multi-faceted and requires a coordinated and collaborative effort across all parts of the community, including different governments and agencies. Modelling shows that, without action to accelerate our efforts, the health risks posed by asbestos will remain with us for over a century.
This is where the NSW Asbestos Coordination Committee (NACC) is leading the way, taking up challenges that can’t be tackled by one agency alone.
As the independent Chair of the NACC, I am accountable to the Minister for Energy and Environment, whose initiative and support drove the creation of the NACC.
Asbestos in NSW: Setting the Direction 2021-22 marks a significant milestone for our State. It sends a strong signal that, with a united, cooperative approach, we can make headway on resolving significant issues. A more comprehensive, longer-term strategy will follow in the coming year, but we can start immediately and build a foundation from which to advance.
My thanks go to the sixteen agencies of the NACC representing state, local and commonwealth governments and Aboriginal land councils, whose commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm have ensured this Direction statement is both aspirational and achievable. My thanks also go to the many industry partners and stakeholder groups who have been so generous in sharing their views and knowledge about the important areas for action. I look forward to continuing to work together on solving this difficult problem.
Carolyn Walsh, Chair, NACC
The NSW Asbestos Coordination Committee acknowledges the traditional custodians as the first protectors of the land, water, sea and sky on which we live and work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.
We recognise the ongoing connection of traditional custodians to their land, their waters and surrounding communities and acknowledge their ancient history here on this land.
We also acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees who are an integral part of the diverse workforce of NSW State and local governments and recognise the knowledge embedded forever in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander custodianship of Country and cultures.
We specifically acknowledge the damage done to Country and communities through the mining, manufacture and use of asbestos, and recognise the need to work with Aboriginal communities in Healing Country.
The progress of the work listed in this document will be reported routinely through the publication of communiques from the NACC Chair following each quarterly meeting and published on the asbestos.nsw.gov.au website.
The NACC also reports on its priorities to the Commonwealth Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, as part of the NSW Government's commitment to implementing the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management 2021-23.