Asbestos in Australia is a serious issue, particularly in some mine sites and construction or renovation workplaces.
The government has this week (May 14) announced its plan to invest over $10.5 million in protecting Australians from asbestos-related diseases.
From 1917 until the mid-1980s Australia produced cement materials, so now all asbestos containing materials (ACMs) will eventually become friable, and once they are airborne, there is no way to make these fibres safe.
Minister for employment and workplace relations Bill Shorten said: "Asbestos is a cruel, indiscriminate killer, and because of its widespread use over much of the 20th century, it remains a persistent threat to Australians."
Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos, killed 642 Australians in 2010, and it is believed that over the next two decades as many as 40,000 people will be diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.
The funding will initially tackle the issue of illegal dumping, encouraging safe disposal of ACMs, and will support a strategy to remove these materials from governmental and commercial buildings.
"This is an example of this government's commitment to protect Australians by leading the first nationally coordinated approach to handling asbestos beyond our workplaces," concluded Mr Shorten.