Responsibility for cleaning up and removing asbestos rests with the person or company responsible for the material, or the owner of the site from which the asbestos originated. However, where there has been a natural disaster then NSW Public Works may take the action set out below. Further, where there has been an emergency pollution event and the responsible party is not available, state agencies and councils may apply to the NSW Environmental Trust for funding to clean up that asbestos waste.
Funding under Disaster Assistance Guidelines
Immediate assistance is available under NSW Disaster Assistance Guidelines where asbestos at multiple damaged residential properties poses an unacceptable risk. Following declaration of a Natural Disaster and specific authorisation by the NSW Government, NSW Public Works is funded to clean up and remove the material.
Emergency funding under the Emergency Pollution Clean Up Program
State agencies, emergency service organisations, and local councils may become involved in clean up activities following an emergency pollution event. In most cases a responsible party will undertake and fund clean up under the polluter-pays principle. However, sometimes the responsible party is unknown, unavailable, unwilling (despite a legal obligation to do so) or unable to pay for emergency pollution clean up within the timeframe required to avoid or at least minimise harm to the environment or public health.
Under these circumstances, and in the absence of the responsible party, the organisation responsible for coordinating the clean up may apply for funding under the Emergency Pollution Clean Up Program for immediate clean up and removal of serious pollution in exceptional circumstances.