The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency has been established to provide a national focus on asbestos issues which go beyond workplace safety to encompass environmental and public health issues.
The Agency has broad functions including:
- encouraging, coordinating, monitoring and reporting on the implementation of National Strategic Plan on Asbestos Awareness and Management (NSP)
- reviewing and amending NSP as required
- publishing and promoting NSP
- providing advice to the Minister about asbestos safety
- liaising with Commonwealth, State, Territory and local and other governments, agencies or bodies about the implementation, review or amendment of NSP; as well as asbestos safety in general; and
- commissioning, monitoring and promoting research about asbestos safety.
The Agency is a statutory authority established on 1 July 2013 following the assent of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Act 2013 and is responsible through its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to the Commonwealth Minister for Employment.
For financial purposes, the Agency operates under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) and the Public Service Act 1999 (Public Service Act) for staffing purposes.
In 2010, a wide ranging review was established by the commonwealth government to make recommendations for the development of a national strategic plan to improve asbestos management in Australia. The review encompassed asbestos management issues beyond work health and safety to include environmental and public health issues. The review also looked at issues including education and public awareness, removal, transport and disposal of asbestos.
The Asbestos Management Review Report released in August 2012 recommended the development of a national strategic plan to improve asbestos awareness and management in the broader community. The review recommended that an independent national agency be established to guide the implementation of the plan.
The Office of Asbestos Safety was established in September 2012 to start this work. The Office worked closely with state and territory governments as well as key stakeholder organisations to develop the national strategic plan.
The Office of Asbestos Safety was replaced by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency on 1 July 2013 by the creation of the Asbestos Safety and eradication Agency Act 2013. The agency and its council is tasked with implementing the plan.
The Agency is led by a Chief Executive Officer. Mr Peter Tighe has recently been appointed as CEO by the Minister for Workplace Relations for a period of five years. His tenure begins in August 2013.
Mr Tighe was National Secretary of the Communications, Electrical, Plumbing Union, a position he held from 1995 to 2013. He was also National Secretary of the Electrical Trades Union and Executive Member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions from 1991 to 2013. He is Chair of E-Oz Energy Skills Australia, E-Profiling Pty Ltd and the National Electrical and Electronic Industry Training Council and a trustee/board member of CBUS Superannuation. Mr Tighe has extensive experience in workplace health and safety issues and in tackling the hazards of asbestos containing materials.
This position is a statutory appointment and was made following a merit based selection process.
Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council
The work of the agency is supported by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council.
The Council is made up of a Chairperson and nine members who have been selected for their experience and expertise with asbestos safety, public health, corporate governance or the representation of people with asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) and their families. One position is reserved for a Commonwealth representative and four positions reserved for a state, territory or local government representative.
The Council will provide advice to the CEO and the Minister on the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management (NSP) and other asbestos safety matters.
Mr Geoff Fary MAICD FAIM was Chair of the Australian Asbestos Management Review between 2010 and 2012. Prior to this he was Assistant Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions for 3 years. Mr Fary has also held positions as Executive Director of the Association of Professional Engineers Scientists and Managers, Australia (APESMA) and National Vice President of the Industrial Relations Society, Australia and a number of other senior corporate and government roles. His former board memberships and directorships include George Weston Foods Limited, Australian Employee Buyout Centre, APESMA Lawyers Pty Ltd, Victorian Government Purchasing Board, Safe Work Australia, Defence Reserves Support National Council and Commissioner for the Australian Safety and Compensation Commission. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the current Chairman of the Australian Institute of Management (Vic/Tas).
Dr Ian R Gardner has been Senior Physician in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Department of Defence since 2010. Between 1998 and 2010 he was a Consultant Occupational Physician in private practice and prior to that held positions including Program Director, Health Safety and Environment Management at IBM Asia Pacific; Medical Officer for NSW, ICI Australia; Occupational Physician, Alcoa of Australia; and Medical Superintendent at Clermont District Hospital. Dr Gardner is Chairman of the Independent Health Review Panel of the New South Wales (NSW) Public Service Commission and a Councillor of the Specialist Medical Review Council. His former board memberships include the Workers Compensation and Occupational Health and Safety Council of NSW and HealthQuest, NSW. Dr Gardner holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from University of Queensland, a Masters degree in Public Health from University of Sydney, and is a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Occupational & Environmental Medicine of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
Mr Peter Dunphy has been Director of Operations, Work Health and Safety Division of WorkCover NSW since 2011. Prior to this he held various senior management positions in WorkCover NSW including Director, Specialist Services Group, senior technical and policy roles, Acting Manager, Scientific Services Branch, Scientific Advisor and Coordinator of the Asbestos Regulation Unit. His board memberships include Chair of Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities Working Group, the Asbestos Education Committee and the Demolition and Asbestos Consultative Committee.
Mr Mark McCabe is Work Safety Commissioner and Senior Director of WorkSafe ACT. His previous positions have included Manager, Workplace Injury Performance, ACT Chief Minister’s Department, Project Manager, ACT Safety First Project, New South Wales State Manager and then General Manager of Comcare. He is Chair or the Asbestos Regulators Forum and a member and former Chair of the ACT Work Safety Council. Mr McCabe is an Honorary Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia.
Mr Lex McCulloch has been Commissioner and Executive Director, WorkSafe Western Australia (WA) since 2011. Prior to this he was Assistant Commissioner, Youth Justice Services, WA. His previous positions include Acting Deputy Commissioner, Offender Management and Professional Development, Department of Corrective Services, WA, Acting Director General, Department of Indigenous Affairs, WA and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Pilbara Development Commission. He is a member of the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety.
Dr Robert Walters is a General Medical Practitioner, Part-Time Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Colonel in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps. He is also a medico-legal advisor and case manager, Medical Indemnity Protection Society and a workers’ compensation medical advisor to a number of insurance companies. Dr Walters has been a General Practice Consultant to the Surgeon General, Australian Defence Force (ADF) since 1995 and has held positions in the ADF as a Senior Medical Officer, Director of Medical Services (Tasmania Region) and Military Compensation Adviser for Tasmania. His board memberships include Chair, Ministerial Asbestos Steering Committee, Medical Member of Workcover Tasmania Board, Headspace and Chair of the General Practice Consultative Group, ADF. Former board memberships include National Advisory Council on Mental Health, National E-Health Transition Authority Advisory Board, National Advisory Council on Suicide Prevention, ACCC Health Services Advisory Council and Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council.
Mr Michael Borowick has been Assistant Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions since 2010. Prior to this he has held various elected and other positions in the Australian Workers’ Union and its predecessor organisations. Mr Borowick is a member of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, National Workplace Relations Consultative Council, Safe Work Australia, Defence Industry Innovation Board, and the Defence Reserves Support Council.
Ms Tracey Browne
Ms Tracey Browne has been Manager, National Safety and Workers Compensation Policy and Membership Services, Australian Industry Group (AI Group) since 2007. Between 2006 and 2007 she was AI Group’s National Program Manager, Small Business Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Advisers Program and from 2001 to 2007 she was a Principal Adviser, Workers Compensation and OHS. Her former positions also include Group Manager, Health Safety & Environment, Bendix Mintex Pty Ltd, Coordinator, Occupational Health & Safety/Personnel, ACI Glass Packaging and Senior Consultant, Occupational Health & Safety, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.
Mr Barry Robson has been President of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia since 2003 and was a delegate between 1995 and 2003. From 1995 to 2003 he was also Assistant Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia and prior to that a Councilor of Blacktown City Council, NSW. Mr Robson is currently President of the Blacktown and Mt Druitt Cardiac Support Group, Director of the Asbestos Diseases Research Foundation and a member of the National Asbestos Taskforce.
Ms Tanya Segelov has been a Partner at Turner Freeman Lawyers since 2000 and is an expert in asbestos and legal issues. Since 1996 Ms Segelov has represented hundreds of asbestos claimants in courts throughout Australia including acting for the late Bernie Banton in both his claims against James Hardie. She also acted pro bono for the Unions and Asbestos Groups in the James Hardie Inquiry. Ms Segelov is a former member of the Asbestos Management Review Advisory Group.
Working with governments
The issues around asbestos are significantly broad and encompass a range of areas such as work health and safety, environment, public health, planning and emergency response.
It is important that all levels of government work together and take an active role in the eradication, handling and awareness of asbestos to assist in reducing the incidence of asbestos related diseases.
To achieve this objective, two government stakeholder groups have been established to advise and assist in the decision making process. The two groups are the:
- Asbestos Interdepartmental Committee comprising representatives from Australian Government departments and agencies
- National Asbestos Safety Reference Group comprising representatives from state and territory government agencies and a representative from the Australian Local Government Association.
These two groups will meet several times a year to participate in the ongoing development and implementation of NSP. The development of the Agency’s annual operational plans will be informed by consultations with these groups.
Working with stakeholders
Safe asbestos management and awareness is a matter of interest to a broad range of stakeholders.
To ensure that the community’s concerns are heard and addressed, the Agency will work in partnership with its stakeholders to ensure the priority areas in NSP reflect the needs of the community.
NSP is not a static document, and in the ongoing development of NSP, the Agency will undertake a leadership role and facilitate a whole of community approach that addresses community concerns about asbestos.
To achieve this, the Agency will engage and work in partnership with industry, unions, organisations that advocate asbestos safety and the community in general to achieve the aims of NSP.
Such consultation will be an ongoing part of this Plan and aims to identify opportunities to improve outcomes. Further, the development of the Agency’s annual operational plans will be informed by consultations with these groups.
Senate Order – Listing of Agency Contracts > $100,000
Senate Order 192 of 2001 requires all Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 agencies to publish a list, which includes the following details relating to each contract entered into by the agency which has not been fully performed or which has been entered into during the previous twelve months, and which provides for a consideration to the value of $100,000 or more:
- the contractor, the amount of the consideration and the subject matter of each such contract,
- the commencement date and the duration of the contract,
- the relevant reporting period and the twelve month period relating to the contract listings,
- whether each such contract contains provisions requiring the parties to maintain confidentiality of any of its provisions,
- whether there are any other requirements of confidentiality,
- a statement of reasons for the confidentiality,
- an estimate of the cost of complying with this order, and
- a statement of the method used to make the estimate.
Senate Order Listing on Contracts $100,000 and above
1 January 2013 - 31 December 2013
Total expenditure: Nil
The estimated cost of complying with the order is $180, based on the estimated number of hours involved to collect, analyse and compile the information and applying salary costs and on-costs.
You can contact us via the Contact Form or by writing to:
Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency
Level 8, 255 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000
PO Box 9880
Sydney NSW 2001