The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has made to calls for authorities to escalate penalties for those who break import legislation rules, specifically targeting the import of asbestos.
Within the previous year, the CFMEU has highlighted 40 cases of products laced with asbetos, analysed from Australia Border Force figures.
There is much anger over the still uncharged illegal importation of asbestos-tainted products from China made by Construction firm Yuanda. Last year, Yuanda imported asbestos-tainted roof panels, which were later detected on the eighth floor of the new Perth Children’s Hospital.
CFMEU construction and general national secretary, Dave Noonan said "Border Force can't inspect every shipment which comes into the country and that's why offenders should have the book thrown at them in order to send a message and change behaviour." Mr Noonan, further commented on matter, stating that if soft prosecutions continue, certain building products from certain countries may have to be band for national health.
Others at the CFMEU have noted Australia's strict history with the substance, National Secretary Michael O'Connor has said "After all the work that has been done over decades of struggle by unions and the community to put an end to all the painful suffering and death of so many people, we don't want to be in a position where we are back where we started, thirty, forty years ago."
"Doing nothing is putting people's lives at risk", said Mr O'Connor. The CFMEU recommended a reform to offence prosecutions in the Customs Act 1901 to the economics committee's non-conforming building products inquiry at the beginning of the year, no action has been taken so far.