If your home was built before the 1980s, it could be affected by a dangerous substance known as loose-fill asbestos insulation.

Asbestos insulation

Loose-fill asbestos insulation is raw asbestos that was crushed into a fine state and was commonly installed in ceiling spaces to provide insulation throughout the 1960s and 1970s. It is toxic and particularly hazardous because it is easily disturbed. This means that over time fibres can move from the ceiling into your living space and therefore poses a threat to your health and safety.

Public register established by the NSW Government

The NSW Government has taken a number of actions to deal with loose-fill asbestos insulation in residential properties and is in the process of establishing a public register of residential properties which contain loose-fill asbestos insulation.

Some of these actions include the following:

  • Homeowners with homes built before 1980 in identified local government areas have until 1 August 2016 to register for a free sample test to determine if their home contains loose-fill asbestos insulation.
  • A voluntary purchase and demolition program has been established for properties containing loose-fill asbestos insulation
  • A number of changes to pieces of legislation such as the Home Building Regulation 2014, the Residential Tenancies Regulation 2010 and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 have been proposed to better account for and manage loose-fill asbestos insulation.

Proposed new law

The NSW Government is also proposing to introduce a new law, known as the Loose-fill Asbestos Insulation Amendment Regulations 2016 in an attempt to protect the community from unknowingly purchasing a property that contains loose-fill asbestos. Under these laws, if an owner of a property wants to sell their property, they must confirm in the contract of sale if the property contains loose-fill asbestos or is free of loose-fill asbestos. If such laws are not complied with, an individual faces the risk of significant financial loss and potential legal action.

NSW Fair Trading released the proposed amendments for public comment earlier this year and is currently in the process of reviewing all submissions.

Whilst a positive initiative, the legislative amendments are fairly limited in scope and consideration should be given to the development of state-wide or national registers which identify the presence of all types of asbestos products in various locations, including residential properties, commercial buildings and public and private institutions such as schools and hospitals.

How we can help

If you believe you might have been exposed to asbestos or contracted an asbestos related disease such as mesothelioma, call Turner Freeman Lawyers on 13 43 63 or visit one of our offices. Our New South Wales offices are in Sydney, Parramatta, Newcastle, Penrith, Wollongong and Gloucester.