|THE Australian navy has been told it has until next year to eradicate asbestos in spare parts.
Thousands of Australian sailors and civilian contractors have been exposed to asbestos because the navy uses parts which have long been banned, a report has found.
The use of materials containing asbestos was outlawed in 2001, but successive federal governments have granted the navy waivers and exemptions.
Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon admitted he was shocked to hear of the exemption policy when Labor took power late last year.
“I've told Defence that we will not stand for it,'' he told ABC Radio.
A risk assessment report prepared by a defence contractor found asbestos fibres were known to be present in 250,000 parts held in naval stores.
Thousands of navy personnel could have been exposed, it said.
“I'm alarmed by the report,'' Mr Fitzgibbon said.
The minister has told Defence it has until next year to eradicate the asbestos threat.
Article from: AAP
He admitted that such action was likely to cost Defence “a lot of money'', with reports suggesting the final bill could be as much as $100 million.