Asbestos Campaign Update – February 2019

Feb 28, 2019

A big moment for the Indonesia ban asbestos campaign occurred in the last 2 months with the first region in Indonesia voting to ban asbestos in all future public buildings. It’s only February but already 2019 is shaping up to be an important year in global efforts to ban asbestos. Here are some of our recent highlights from the Asbestos. Not here. Not anywhere campaign.

Bandung City Assembly votes to bans asbestos in all future government buildings

In December 2018 a significant step on the road to banning asbestos in Indonesia was won with Bandung City Assembly becoming the first region in Indonesia to vote to specifically name asbestos in a list of prohibited products to be used in future construction of public buildings. Bandung City is the third biggest municipality in Indonesia. Asbestos-containing building materials are still widely used in Indonesia as Indonesia still imports 115,000 tonnes annually of raw chrysotile asbestos fibre for the manufacture of mainly building products.

The hard-fought decision was won after a campaign of more than two years by the Local Initiative for OSH Network (LION) and Indonesia Ban Asbestos Network (INA-BAN), supported by concerned local members of Parliament.  Congratulations to Assembly members for this important decision to reduce future asbestos-related cancers and for the health of future generations! The decision is a major step forward in raising awareness of asbestos hazards and exposure risks of asbestos fibres within Indonesia more generally. Congratulations also to LION, local health experts and trade unions in Bandung who have campaigned hard for this decision.

LION is a partner organisation of Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA in Indonesia and is part of the SE Asia regional campaign on asbestos awareness and eliminating asbestos related diseases supported by your donations, Australian trade unions and funding from the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) of the Australian aid program.

Campaign launched to highlight past failure of the Rotterdam Convention in lead up to COP9

In the lead up to the Rotterdam Convention meeting (COP9) in May, the Asia Ban Asbestos Network (ABAN) launched campaign actions to highlight past failure of the Rotterdam Convention in regards to chrysotile asbestos, calling for immediate reform of the convention voting system.

ABAN is asking all national ban networks across Asia to urgently advocate to their respective governments with three key demands:

  1. Support the listing of chrysotile asbestos onto the Convention and inform ban networks of their position prior to the meeting;
  2. Support a move by African countries to reform the voting system of listing hazardous chemicals onto the convention at this meeting, to stop the veto of the last 10 years by asbestos producer countries;
  3. Consider abandoning the Rotterdam Convention altogether and demand a stand-alone Asbestos Convention.

Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA is a member of the coordinating group of ABAN. More updates soon.

ETU Conference 2019

The ETU has again demonstrated its commitment to zero tolerance for asbestos! On 18 February 2018, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA’s Asbestos Campaigner, Emma Bacon, was invited to speak at ETU’s Biennial Conference. Emma highlighted the fact that while asbestos is being used anywhere, it is a risk everywhere.

In September 2018, ETU NSW President Glen Potter and National Assistant Secretary Michael Wright joined the Asbestos Study Tour to Vietnam and Indonesia to hear firsthand from Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA’s partner organisations on their efforts to push for bans in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia and also provide advice, support and lessons from Australia’s deadly experience of using asbestos last century.


Project name: Asbestos. Not here. Not anywhere.
Location: Asia and Australia
Union contributions:

  • Australian Education Union (AEU)
  • Maritime Union of Australia (MUA)
  • United Voice
  • Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU)
  • NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA)
  • Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF VIC)
  • Electrical Trades Union Victoria (ETU VIC).


The Asbestos. Not Here. Not Anywhere. project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

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