Despite Australia stopping the production of asbestos containing products in 1987 and then banning their use and importation in December of 2003, these products still exist in and around workplaces and homes built before the mid 1990s. Asbestos was used in more than 3000 products in Australia.
Large amounts of asbestos-containing materials are still present in the community in both workplaces and non-workplaces, including domestic premises. Only fibro products made before 1987 contain asbestos.
In NSW, the use of asbestos was discontinued in fibro sheets by 1982, in corrugated sheets by 1984 and then in all other products by 1986. The manufacture and use of asbestos products was banned nationally in Australia from December 31st, 2003.
In recent news, two tonnes of asbestos sheeting were found just metres from two childcare centres in inner Sydney. Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) crews and a hazmat team arrived at Wattle Lane, Ultimo to properly handle the asbestos sheeting that had been discovered. Two childcare centres are located metres from Wattle Lane, which are the KU Wattle Lane Children's Centre and the Magic Pudding centre on McKee Street. The FRNSW Inspector Chris Sedgwick said that this asbestos material had appeared to have been dumped. The dumping location of this material was about two blocks from the city's waste management depot. It was unclear as to where this asbestos material came from or who was responsible for its illegal dumping of it as well.