The department’s highest priority is the safety of students and staff at all times.
Asbestos is the common term used to describe a naturally-occurring fibrous mineral that was extensively used in building products until the late 1980s because of its durability, fire resistance and thermal insulating properties. All forms of asbestos-based product manufacturing have been nationally banned since 2003. However, the prohibition does not mean that all asbestos containing materials (ACM) installed prior to this date need to be removed. ACM that is in good condition and left undisturbed is a relatively low health risk. As many Queensland schools and facilities were built before 1990, it is not uncommon for ACM to be present at these sites.
The Department of Energy and Public Works, QBuild, monitors the condition of ACM in departmental facilities closely and manages it in accordance with the Queensland Government Asbestos Management Policy.
The Department of Energy and Public Works, QBuild, also maintains the built environment materials information register (BEMIR). BEMIR is an electronic environmental management system designed to assist government agencies with the management of environmentally significant matters within government controlled and owned buildings.
If an incident occurs in a department-owned facility where confirmed or assumed ACM has been disturbed in a method not consistent with legislative requirements, any staff, students and visitors must immediately vacate the room or area and follow departmental procedures. The Department of Energy and Public Works, QBuild, tests for ACM and confirms the presence of ACM in the BEMIR.
The asbestos register contains information about the location of known confirmed, assumed or removed asbestos at department-owned facilities. The information provided is a snapshot at the date identified and is updated twice a year.