Stephen Hledik: Importers need to be aware that Australia's total ban on asbestos means zero percent content. If the Border Force suspects that there is asbestos present in the goods being imported, we will instruct the importer to arrange for testing at their cost. That involves extra cost of course to them, as well as delays as the testing is conducted, and the assurances are obtained by the Border Force that the goods are asbestos free.
Female ABF officer: One of the samples that was taken by the hygienist has come back with positive traces of asbestos.
Stephen: The materials that we are most concerned about are those in the construction industry, where panels or other building materials are used and there is a significant likelihood that the community at large will be exposed to those materials through buildings, residences and other structures.
People seeking to import particular goods where there is a likelihood of asbestos need to understand their obligations about ensuring that the components that may be within those goods have been checked for the content or presence of asbestos.
Recent history has shown a high incidence of imports in the classic car sector where asbestos has been found in parts such as brake pads, clutch linings and gaskets from vintage and veteran cars.
The testing for asbestos is undertaken by licenced hygienists to take the samples, which are then provided to a laboratory to prove or disprove the presence of asbestos in those parts. Subject to that test result coming back to the Border Force, those goods will be held until the results are finalised.
It's incumbent on the person who is importing that vehicle to ensure that asbestos containing parts are removed, prior to import to Australia.
Male ABF officer: People do need to understand that we are protecting the community. It may be a little bit of an inconvenience for people who are importing vehicles into the country, but at the end of the day we have the public health and that is of course our number one priority.
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