Queenslanders will able to find out about asbestos in their homes before it’s too late with a new hotline.
The state government has launched the hotline and a website to help people find out if there’s asbestos in the homes and what they should do about it before they start renovating.
“Once you’ve already started the process and the asbestos is in the air, then unfortunately it can be too late,” Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie told reporters.
Exposure to asbestos particles can lead to asbestosis, a chronic inflammatory lung disease that restricts breathing and can cause cancer.
The new plan also subjects asbestos removalists to a new licensing regime and lists them on the new website.
The plan cuts overlapping asbestos inspection responsibilities, with councils now in charge of residential properties and the government in charge of commercial premises.
Inspectors will also be given more substantial training to identify asbestos and advise people on how to deal with it.
Materials containing asbestos exist in most buildings constructed before 1990 and is not considered dangerous unless damaged or disturbed.
Queensland’s government spent $989,000 removing asbestos from 26 schools in the 2012/13 financial year.
But there is still 10,000 square metres of asbestos in government buildings, the bulk of which is to expensive to remove for the time being.
Asbestos-related diseases can take more than 20 years before victims develop symptoms.
The government also plans to launch an education program to teach people about the dangers of asbestos.