The first property to test positive for loose-fill asbestos as part of the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA) independent investigation into loose-fill asbestos in NSW has been identified.

The property, located in the Berrigan Shire Council area, was identified as part of the investigation’s free ceiling insulation testing program for homeowners across 26 NSW local government areas.

A free independent technical assessment by a licensed asbestos assessor will now be offered to the property owners which will advise if living spaces are well sealed and the asbestos pathways appropriately controlled.

Testing of homes with loose-fill asbestos insulation has shown that exposure is likely to be very low if the asbestos is undisturbed and remains sealed off at all points where entry of asbestos into living areas can occur, including cornices, architraves, around vents, light fittings, manholes and the tops of cupboards.

HACA has engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct the independent investigation into loose-fill asbestos in NSW, and is providing free ceiling insulation testing for a 12 month period until August 2015 to identify the full extent of affected homes across the State.

Concerned residents in homes built before 1980 can register online or call Service NSW to see if they are eligible to have their property tested and assessed for the material by a licensed asbestos assessor. A list of licensed asbestos assessors is online at www.workcover.nsw.gov.au   

  • As of 22 January, 1752 premises in the 26 council areas have registered for the free sampling service. These LGAs have been identified through the analysis of archival government records. A breakdown of sampling requests by LGA is available on the WorkCover website at www.workcover.nsw.gov.au
  • Licensed asbestos assessors are currently undertaking inspections and testing of properties.
  • As of 22 January, 630 properties have been tested.
  • One property has returned a positive result.
  • All other samples have returned a negative result.
  • Testing is ongoing.

HACA is taking action to accelerate these assessments so the findings can be used to inform the NSW Government on actions that need to be taken. As the investigation is ongoing, no additional information is available until the next update.

In December 2014 the NSW Government announced a further assistance package for NSW residents with loose-fill asbestos in their homes. This includes a ‘Make Safe’ Assistance Package for affected properties and the establishment of a Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Taskforce.

The Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Taskforce will develop a comprehensive action plan to advise the government on the most appropriate enduring solution to the loose-fill asbestos issue in NSW.

A new website and hotline has been set up for the community register for the free sampling service or to obtain further information and advice. Go to www.nsw.gov.au/loosefillasbestos or call Service NSW on 13 77 88 for more details.

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