Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring rock minerals that have been shown to be harmful to human health. The fibres are strong, heat resistant and have natural insulating properties. Asbestos was used extensively in building products in Australia. All use, import or manufacture of asbestos was banned completely in Australia by 2003.
If your home was built or renovated in the years leading up to 1987, it most likely contains asbestos. If the asbestos material has been left undisturbed and intact, it should not pose a health risk. The risk arises if fibres become airborne after it has been disturbed.
If you are thinking of undertaking any kind of removal or renovation work at your home and you are unsure whether asbestos is present, read the asbestos guide for householders and the general public produced by the Victorian Department of Health before commencing any works. It recommended that you consult with a suitably qualified person to help manage the risks of asbestos if you are unsure of your responsibilities.
When asbestos removal work is completed on your behalf, a licensed removalist must be engaged (for certain quantities). Refer to the WorkSafe website for licensed removalists.
For further information on asbestos, please contact Council's Environmental Health Officer or visit the Victorian Government's asbestos website.