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Frequently asked questions from local government authorised persons

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The following questions were raised at the training sessions provided to local government authorised persons.

On this page:

How do I get information updated onto the Queensland Health local government website and provide feedback?

Feedback or comment can be provided via the email address provided on the site. Send your comments on the website resources to environmentalhazards@health.qld.gov.au.

Who will provide support to LG when responding to major ACM events?

Local governments (LG) should contact their relevant Queensland Health public health unit for any advice or assistance with asbestos work. Contact details are published on the local government website.

Can a person with a B class asbestos removal licence remove asbestos in a domestic setting?

Worker training for asbestos removal includes the training module CPCCDE3014A - Remove non-friable asbestos that is one of the approved courses for a Certificate under the Public Health Act 2005. Any person who has completed this training module is suitably qualified to undertake removal of greater than 10 m2 of asbestos material in a domestic setting. The person would need to show evidence of completion of this training module.

What powers do LG officers have when responding to an event that is a workplace?

Local government officers will not be expected to exercise any powers once they have ascertained that the event they have responded to is a workplace. They can still provide advice and request cooperation from those onsite until Workplace Health and Safety Queensland officers arrive.

Can each person assisting with removing bonded ACM remove up to 10 m2 in one job?

No. The size of the total job dictates the need for a certificate. If the job is to remove greater than 10 m2, each person assisting must have a certificate. If the job is to remove less than 10 m2, no person is required to have a certificate.

How can I find out whether a person has the required certificate under the Public Health Act to remove greater than 10 m2 of asbestos?

There is no central register held by the Department of Health of persons who have undertaken relevant training. It is the responsibility of the person to provide evidence that they have the required certificate. A certificate is valid for two years from date of issue.

How does an authorised person determine what is the total area of asbestos contamination that needs to be remediated? (this will relate to heavily contaminated properties)

Depending on the level of asbestos contamination, an authorised person should give a public health order with a direction to the person to engage a Class A licensed asbestos removalist. The A class business has the duty to establish removal boundaries and will be required to do an asbestos removal control plan (ARCP) that provides the scope for the areas requiring decontamination. An authorised person need not provide specific direction in relation to the steps the asbestos removalist is required to undertake in the public health order. Nevertheless the authorised person should inspect the property to generally determine the extent of contamination e.g. whether neighbouring properties are involved, in order to determine the level of risk and what clean-up methods or interim control measures are appropriate.

Can local government officers enter State land?

Entry powers to state land for local government public health risks are restricted under section 3 of the Public Health Act. Although the state is bound by the Act, it is not bound for the following sections:

  • section 386 - entry to ascertain if a public health risk exists
  • section 394 and 395 - power to obtain a warrant
  • chapter 2 part 3 - public health orders.

Under the Public Health Act 2005 entry of local government officers is restricted to entry with consent of the occupier and enforcement actions cannot be taken. Authorised persons should be aware of their scope of powers under each piece of legislation as these can vary. For example, if a matter on state land constitutes littering or illegal dumping under the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011, those with authority under that Act can use powers provided by the Act including use of show cause and compliance notices, and issuing provisional improvement notices (PINs). Permission for entry will need to be sought from the state land owner and the state land owner is responsible for clean up of the site.

If a homeowner is removing ACM without safe work methods is there an option to revoke their QH certificate?

There is no option to revoke a certificate. Enforcement action should be taken to address any breaches that have occurred.

Can powers under the Local Government Act be used to address public health risks from asbestos?

No. Chapter 5 part 2 of the Local Government Act 2009 (LG Act) outlines the powers of authorised persons for the purpose of that Act. The Public Health Act 2005 specifically excludes the use of powers under Chapter 5 part 2 of the LG Act for the administration and enforcement of the Public Health Act 2005. Powers provided under the Public Health Act 2005 should be used to address public health risks for asbestos.

Can a public health order address more than one public health risk?

Yes. A public health order could address more than one public health risk. Further information is included in the guidance note 'Giving public health orders', available on Queensland Health's Local Government Environmental Health Resources website.

Can I direct that a licensed asbestos assessor provide a clearance certificate where removal work was done by the homeowner?

No. The work health and safety provisions requiring a licensed asbestos assessor, or competent person, to carry out a visual inspection and issue a written clearance certificate are only relevant where the work was carried out by a licensed asbestos removalist business.

Can a public health order direct someone to leave their premises where an asbestos public health risk is present?

Yes, a public health order can direct someone to leave their premises. It is more likely that you would direct a person to stop using a part of the premises. More information is available in the guidance note 'Giving public health orders', available on Queensland Health's Local Government Environmental Health Resources website.

Can I advise a homeowner how to take an asbestos sample?

Yes. You can provide general advice and also provide the relevant bulk sampling fact sheet to assist them. You might also advise how they might find professional assistance for this work.

How do I determine whether a complaint relates to a domestic setting or a workplace? (e.g. is a house on a farm a domestic setting?)

See the Fact Sheet 'Determining jurisdiction - workplace or non-workplace', available on Queensland Health's Local Government Environmental Health Resources website. In general a farmhouse is a domestic setting as it is not the workplace of the owner - the farm area is the workplace.

When a landlord carries out work on ACM on their own rental property, is this a workplace?

No. In general, a landlord carrying out activities on ACM at their rental property would be considered to be doing the activity as a 'person' and this would be captured as a domestic activity under the Public Health Act.

Other scenarios may apply in certain circumstances. The principle to apply is whether the activity is being undertaken as work (as part of a business or undertaking) or whether it is being undertaken as a domestic activity. Refer to the relevant fact sheet for further information.

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