Updates from the Ban Asbestos Campaign – July 2018
We’re calling on the Australian Government to respond to a report into illegal asbestos imports and support the recommendations of the report. There should be tougher penalties for companies that put workers and communities at risk and we’re asking the Australian Government to take on international leadership to support asbestos bans in our region and around the world. Sign this petition and share with your colleagues, friends and family.
Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA is running a Solidarity Tour from 24 September to 3 October 2018 to give Australian unionists and members the opportunity to observe the campaign and meet key activists and leaders in the movement to ban asbestos in Vietnam and Indonesia. If you’re interested, check out our updated flier including itinerary. http://www.apheda.org.au/asbestos-solidarity-tour
Global Solidarity to End Asbestos at ACTU Congress 2018
Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA held a workshop at the ACTU Congress in Brisbane on the Asbestos. Not Here. Not Anywhere. campaign to update delegates and union members on the progress towards bans in our region. Kate Lee our Executive Officer was joined by Assistant Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Judith Kiedja, Terry Mason of the NTEU and National Assistant Secretary of the ETU Michael Wright.
Terry talked passionately about the impacts of asbestos on the indigenous community of Baryulgil in northern NSW “the roads are paved with asbestos, the playground sandpits are filled with asbestos. The water they washed their clothes in and drank from contained asbestos.”
Judith expressed ongoing solidarity from the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association for the asbestos campaign and gave a strong call to action for everyone to be part of the campaign and join APHEDA.
“with the help of the Australian Union movement APHEDA has made great progress in organising union groups in South East Asia. The NSWNMA will continue to work in solidarity with APHEDA in their Asbestos. Not Here. Not Anywhere. campaign to achieve a global ban so that asbestos contaminated building products no longer reach Australia. I encourage each of you to be part of this campaign in any capacity you are able. But at the very least ensure you are a member of APHEDA and contribute regularly. Every dollar helps and this is such an important campaign.”
Michael ended the panel discussion saying “the work that APHEDA has been doing in southeast Asia is phenomenal – in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia – it is saving people’s lives; I can’t emphasise enough how much we need to get behind this and how much we need to support APHEDA in their work because this is not a problem that can be solved on our shores; it’s a problem that must be solved internationally. The future is a ban or it is industrial manslaughter”
Attendees were also shocked by news that Russian asbestos companies are now putting Donald Trump’s ‘seal of approval’ on their products. We used the Global Solidarity workshop to launch our petition to end illegal asbestos imports at the workshop. Haven’t signed? Sign and share now
Terry Mason talks passionately about the impacts of asbestos on the indigenous community of Baryulgil: the roads are paved with asbestos, the playground sandpits are filled with asbestos. The water they washed their clothes in and drank from contained asbestos. #ACTUcongress18 pic.twitter.com/75SppfLzgE
— Union Aid Abroad (@apheda) July 17, 2018
Laos Minister for Labour backs 2020 ban
The Lao Ban Asbestos Network was officially formed this year and momentum towards asbestos bans is spreading across the region. In a television interview in June the Minister for Labour announced support for a ban on asbestos by 2020. There have been high level ministerial meetings to discuss the dangers of asbestos and momentum is building towards a ban. In response to this news, it was reported by the Vientiane Times newspaper that the Russian Federation Deputy Health Minister visited Laos to discuss the “best practices and technologies on safe and controllable use of chrysotile (white asbestos) containing products”. The meeting “heard there were no studies or statistics to show that chrysotile-containing products have caused any health problem in the last 50 years of manufacturing, production, installation and usage in the country.”
Cambodia National Asbestos Plan moves forward
Cambodian campaigners and Government supporters have been developing a National Asbestos Profile. The lack of information on the spread of asbestos materials has been a barrier to getting recognition of the scale of the problem. Testing at an Australian lab has led to a breakthrough with the campaign as government representatives have become aware of the scale of the problem for the first time. APHEDA is working with local partners to supply microscopes, testing equipment and training in Cambodia so that materials can be tested in country instead of having to send them to Australia.