Local Government NSW is giving Aboriginal council employees the opportunity to attend an international conference on asbestos management.

LGNSW has launched new Aboriginal Employees Asbestos Training scholarships to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to safely respond to asbestos issues.

LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said the impacts of asbestos were still being reported in a range of Aboriginal communities, including Baryulgil near Grafton and Wallaga Lake, on the state’s south coast.

“These are just two areas in which medical professionals have reported asbestos-related illnesses manifesting years later,” Cr Rhoades said.

“Asbestos is a critical issue for all communities throughout Australia, but LGNSW and the NSW Government’s Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA) are committed to ensuring Aboriginal communities have the support they need to address these issues.

“That is why we are offering up to 12 scholarships of $1,000 to Aboriginal council employees, with the funding to be used to attend an asbestos-related conference, training course or other professional development opportunity.

“These scholarships are the first of their kind and will enable successful applicants to not only learn more about the safe management of asbestos in Aboriginal communities, but to help ensure that knowledge and expertise is appropriately shared.

“Equally important is the role these scholarship recipients will play in advising local councils on how best to direct their efforts to support Aboriginal communities in this critical safety area.”

Clr Rhoades said the scholarships could be used to attend asbestos awareness or removal training, or convene asbestos training at their council for Aboriginal employees and others, with the funding available to support travel, accommodation or other attendance expenses.

Two of the scholarships carry an additional component: registration for the Third International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management in Adelaide from 13-15 November, provided by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA).

Registration for the free training and applications for the scholarships are accessible here.