Downloadable asbestos fact sheetFAQs
Schools have had high-risk asbestos removed
Schools have had asbestos removed that may pose a future risk
The Victorian Government is rolling out the largest ever removal of asbestos containing materials from our schools. The 2019-20 State Budget invested a further $179.5 million as part of the Asbestos Safety Program.
We conducted a state-wide audit of 1,712 government school sites and found high risk asbestos at 497 schools. By March 2016 we had removed it all.
This huge achievement has improved the safety of government primary, secondary and special schools across the state.
The removal of high-risk asbestos containing materials will immediately have a beneficial effect for the safety of staff and students.
- Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency
We continue the next phase of our asbestos removal program, targeting asbestos that, although not classified as high risk, may pose a risk in the future. Schools are active, busy places that are frequented by many people. We are not leaving anything to chance. Asbestos that may pose a risk in the future will be removed by 2020.
On top of the $200 million already invested by this Government, the 2019-20 State Budget provided a further $179.5 million to continue the roll-out of this next phase.
The Victorian School Building Authority have a dedicated team of experts who will be managing this huge task.
This program is being carried out in a methodical, planned and structured way. Following our state-wide audit, school communities can be confident that we know where the asbestos is, and we will make sure it is safe until it can be removed.
An integral part of this removal has been the Permanent Modular School Buildings Program, which replaces older asbestos containing buildings with new architecturally-designed modular buildings. With less time needed for planning and construction, schools can be delivered high quality buildings with reduced disruption to students, staff and teaching programs - getting children back into the classroom faster than ever before.
Asbestos we have removed in schools
Asbestos we are committed to removing in schools
Improving school facilities will keep staff and students safe, build school pride, inspire higher standards of learning and transform communities.
For more information regarding asbestos please visit
Downloadable Asbestos Fact Sheet (PDF).
Downloadable Asbestos Fact Sheet (Word).
Asbestos is a natural mineral that was used extensively in Australia up until the late 1980s, until a national ban in 2003, in building and consumer products. It can be found in:
Asbestos-containing materials are classified as either ‘friable’ (soft, crumbly) or ‘bonded’ (solid, rigid, non-friable).
Asbestos can be found in a range of building and consumer products. Some of the locations we are removing asbestos-containing material from include building eaves, materials within and behind walls, and objects we are disposing of include older devices such as filing cabinets, safes and switchboards.
Generally asbestos found in soil is low risk asbestos. Where it is found, asbestos in soil is managed in-situ. This means that the asbestos-containing material is encapsulated in the soil and monitored over time.
The Victorian Government is focusing funding on removing asbestos in school buildings that may pose a risk in the future, making schools safe and improving facilities for students, staff and the wider community.
The Victorian Government has already removed all identified high-risk asbestos from government schools. The next step is to remove all identified asbestos that may pose a risk in the short to medium term.
Where asbestos is in the soil underneath existing buildings, it is inaccessible and a low risk. Demolishing existing buildings and rebuilding them would be disruptive to students and would cost billions of dollars with little to no public benefit.
Instead of demolishing existing buildings where asbestos may be present in the soil, the Victorian School Building Authority will treat, manage, encapsulate or remove any asbestos contaminated soil if the building is already due for demolition in the future as part of a broader capital investment.
To ensure all Victorian schools are safe, asbestos management in schools is governed by a strict set of legislative and compliance requirements in accordance with Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety framework. Under these requirements, school principals are provided with a School Asbestos Management Plan and are accountable for the safe management of asbestos in their school.
The School Asbestos Management Plan provides operational procedures and guidelines, as well as clarity regarding the roles and responsibilities in managing asbestos-containing materials and any incidents that may arise.
The treatment of asbestos-containing materials is based on its risk rating. This relates to the risk of fibres being released from the materials – any A1 or A2 rated material (high-risk asbestos) is immediately scheduled for removal when it is identified.
We are all exposed to low levels of asbestos in the air we breathe every day. Although there is no absolutely safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres, occasional exposure to low levels of fibres poses a low risk to your health.
Asbestos-containing materials, if left undisturbed in a reasonable condition, are not a significant health risk and are not generally considered harmful unless they are inhaled.
Asbestos fibres can cause illnesses such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Asbestos becomes a potential health risk when large volumes of asbestos fibres are released into the air and inhaled. Asbestos-related disease is most commonly detected in people that have worked with asbestos products.
For more information regarding asbestos and your health, visit
Asbestos-containing materials, if left undisturbed in a reasonable condition, are not a significant health risk. Asbestos fibres are released into the air when asbestos-containing material is damaged or crumbling, or is disturbed by breaking, cutting, drilling or sanding.
Schools are required to monitor asbestos on a quarterly basis as a part of their School Asbestos Management Plan.
If you think your child has been exposed to higher levels of asbestos at a school, report it to the school principal or asbestos coordinator.
If you are concerned about the health risks associated with exposure, seek medical advice from your GP.
If you think your child has found asbestos-containing materials at their school, report it to the school principal or asbestos coordinator. The appropriate next steps will then be taken in accordance to the School Asbestos Management Plan.
We have processes in place to best manage asbestos removal in schools in accordance with Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety framework to ensure the safety of students, staff and the wider community.
For removal and remediation works that may affect local residents, we will liaise with schools and communities to keep them up to date and advise them of any anticipated disruptions.
We provide comprehensive training to school staff including principals and asbestos coordinators. Schools can also call a 24-hour asbestos help desk to register an asbestos incident, obtain advice and get further information.
You can find more information on asbestos on the following websites:
www.asbestos.vic.gov.au www.worksafe.gov.vic.au www.epa.vic.gov.au www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au.
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We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Victoria and pay respect to the ongoing living cultures of First Peoples.