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An inquiry into building products which do not conform to local standards is back on with a new and expanded terms of reference as a string of asbestos cases has forced the issue back onto the public agenda.

The Senate Inquiry into Non-Conforming Building Products had lapsed in May following the dissolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the lead up to the election.

However, the inquiry has been re-adopted the inquiry in the Parliament, and will be required to report on May 25 next year.

Furthermore, the re-established inquiry will have now have additional terms of reference to look at the illegal importation of asbestos and how the regulatory framework could be improved to prevent this.

This includes through better policing, enforcement and screening of asbestos projects; clearer responsibility for remediation of contaminated sites and better coordination between federal and state governments.

The committee has re-opened the inquiry to public submissions, which must be received by December 1 to be considered.

Nevertheless, the new committee will have full access to all correspondence and evidence previously received for this inquiry and has stated its intention to refer to all evidence which has been previously submitted.

Accordingly, the committee’s web site states that any submissions previously forwarded to the inquiry will not need to be resubmitted.

Around Australia, concern over the use of building products which do not meet standards has been increasing amid the discovery of asbestos on a range of building sites across the country.

In July, the material was discovered in roof panels supplied to builder John Holland for use on the Perth Children’s Hospital project.

That some month, gaskets containing asbestos were also found on the 1 William Street commercial building development in Brisbane.

In September, New Zealand joined more than 50 countries (including Australia) in banning the importation of asbestos containing materials.

 
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