Federal Government Proposes Tax To Fund Removal Of Asbestos

The tax would help remove asbestos from millions of Australian homes.

One in three homes across Australia could have asbestos and getting rid of the asbestos from those houses costs money. A tax has been proposed to help fund the removal.

The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) thinks that subsidies are needed to push home owners to start the removal process.

Speaking to the ABC, ASEA CEO Peter Tighe said that a tiny levy on building materials could be enough to do the job. “I’m talking about a fraction of a percent. Much less than anywhere near a GST.” He believes that unless there is a Government incentive to remove asbestos that home owners won’t undertake the process on their own.

Asbestos exposure can cause a range of illnesses including mesothelioma and lung cancer, causing close to four thousand deaths every year.

At the moment it is not mandatory for home owners to investigate whether there is asbestos in their home. Mr. Tighe thinks that state and territory governments should introduce mandatory audits when a house is sold to determine whether the premises have asbestos.

"You would think a smart government would look after the broader areas of society and make sure that there is mandatory reporting," he said.

"What I'd like to see is that a full asbestos audit takes place by a professional who comes in."

The introduction of this tax could help reduce the exposure of asbestos to future generations.