The latest update on the independent investigation into loose-fill asbestos initiated by the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA) in New South Wales indicates considerable progress with more premises registering for the free sampling service.

HACA has engaged PriceWaterhouseCooper to conduct an independent investigation into loose-fill asbestos in New South Wales, with free ceiling insulation testing being provided to ascertain the full extent of the problem across the State.

HACA is comprised of NSW government agencies that have a role in the management, monitoring and response to asbestos issues and is chaired by WorkCover NSW.

As of 13 November 2014, 724 premises in the 26 council areas have registered for the free sampling service. These LGAs have been identified through the analysis of archival government records. A breakdown of sampling requests by LGA is available on the WorkCover NSW website.

Licensed asbestos assessors are currently undertaking inspection and testing of the properties. As of 13 November 2014, 114 properties have been tested, and all samples have returned a negative result.

Concerned residents in homes built before 1980 can contact WorkCover on 13 10 50 to see if they are eligible to have their property tested and assessed for presence of asbestos. A licensed asbestos assessor can be consulted to check whether living spaces are well sealed and asbestos hazards are appropriately controlled. A list of licensed asbestos assessors is online on the WorkCover website.

Free ceiling insulation tests are being provided for homeowners across 26 local government areas to identify all loose-fill asbestos in residential premises. Free independent technical assessments are being offered to affected homeowners regarding the adequacy of risk controls in each of the identified homes for a 12-month period.

Interim findings from the assessments will be used to inform the NSW Government on any immediate actions that need to be taken to address the problem. HACA is working quickly to develop a prudent, evidence-based solution to assist those with loose-fill asbestos in their homes.

The NSW Government will consider the findings of the independent investigation and possible measures to assist affected householders. The Chief Health Officer has considered the ACT Taskforce Report and confirmed the need to wait for the results of the current NSW investigation.

A breakdown of testing results by local government areas is provided on the WorkCover NSW website.