The Chinese company at the centre of an Asbestos scandal at construction sites in Brisbane and Perth has been caught trying to import another shipment of building products containing the potentially lethal material.
The illegal Asbestos was identified in one of Yuanda’s containers seized by the Australian Border Force after the revelation in July that Asbestos-tainted products were supplied to Brisbane’s 1 William Street skyscraper and the $1.2 billion Perth Children’s Hospital.
The Australian understands the latest contaminated products were detected in a consignment at the Port of Brisbane and were also destined for 1 William Street, the new home for Queensland government ministers and public servants. The results of the tests on the Yuanda shipment were confirmed just over a week ago. Since mid-July, ABF has ordered independent testing on a further 37 of Yuanda’s shipping containers and two airfreight shipments. Those tests were all negative.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has come under pressure from unions and business groups to ramp up efforts to stop Asbestos at the border, following a string of incidents that have sparked health fears for hundreds of workers. Last month, Asbestos was discovered in equipment imported from China for the redevelopment of Nyrstar’s lead and zinc smelter at Port Pirie in South Australia.’
why is Asbestos still used?
Large-scale mining of Asbestos began at the end of the 19th century. Manufacturers and builders began using Asbestos for its desirable physical properties: sound absorption, average tensile strength, resistance to fire, heat, electricity, and affordability. Even though Australia outlawed the use of Asbestos in 2003 many countries around the world, including China, still use it to make strong and cheap building products. Because Asbestos is still used overseas it makes it high risk to import cheap building materials from these places. Australian border patrol only estimated 1 in 5 importations of building material are tested.
In June, SA company Australian Portable Camps found that 8000 sheets of cement board it imported from China in 2010 and 2011 contained white Asbestos. ABF commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said yesterday testing of Yuanda’s consignments was continuing and it was too early to comment on whether the company would be prosecuted. “The ABF makes decisions on whether or not to prosecute based on the prosecution policy of the commonwealth, whether