Asbestos waste reform

Asbestos waste reform

In a win for asbestos fence removers, councils and local communities in NSW.

An increase in safe disposal areas for asbestos and an end to expensive asbestos disposal levies are expected to reduce illegal dumping in a win for communities and councils across NSW.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said illegal dumping of asbestos was a scourge facing many local government areas, exacerbated by restrictive regulations and levy fees that made it costly to do the right thing.

“LGNSW has been calling on government to remove the levy from small amounts of asbestos waste since it was introduced in 2008,” Cr Scott said.

“Ever since the government introduced the levy councils have seen a noticeable spike in illegal dumping of asbestos as well as other waste.

“This is a major cost for councils which have the task and bear the cost of safely cleaning it up – and most importantly, it poses a serious health risk to communities.

“At the LGNSW Annual Conference, councils passed a series of motions calling on State Government to help reduce illegal dumping of asbestos by removing the waste levy on asbestos and providing greater access to disposal facilities.

“Some communities, such as people in Warrumbungle Shire Council, have to travel more than 100 kilometres just to access a safe disposal site.

“With all these factors in play, it is no wonder asbestos accounts for up to 8 per cent of illegally dumped waste in NSW.”

Cr Scott said changes to asbestos waste regulations meant disposing of up to 250 kilograms of appropriately separated and wrapped asbestos waste at an approved facility would no longer attract landfill levies.

“The reduction of costs for those doing the right thing accompanies recent increased penalties for those caught illegally dumping asbestos,” Cr Scott said.

“Fines have jumped from $44,000 for corporations and $22,000 for individuals illegally dumping asbestos to $2 million for corporations and $500,000 for individuals.”

Government changes to asbestos waste management reflect submissions made by LGNSW to government in November last year, calling for more drop off locations, levy exemptions as well as a raft of regulation changes to make it simpler and safer for councils and communities to deal with the issue.

“It’s pleasing to see government acting on this long-standing issue, and I welcome their commitment to work with councils to solve this problem,” Cr Scott said.

This article was first published in The Fence magazine.