Australian government leaders have reached a consensus to establish a national ban on engineered stone, a material that can cause serious health conditions including silicosis for industrial workers.
Commonwealth, State, and Territory leaders have agreed to impose the ban at the Industrial Relations Ministers Meeting today. The ban will take effect in Queensland, along with the majority of states and territories, from 1 July 2024.
Queensland has been campaigning to ban the use of engineered stone since 2018 in response to escalating health impacts on workers.
“Queensland is extremely proud to have led a national campaign which has culminated in a ban on the use of engineered stone,” said Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace.
“This is a dangerous product that’s known to cause the potentially fatal disease silicosis, and it has no place in our workplaces. All workers have a right to turn up to a safe and healthy workplace and I’m proud to be part of a government which has helped deliver this key measure to protect workers.”
Major retailers in Australia including Bunning and Australia have already announced efforts to phase out sales of engineered stone, according to Minister Grace.
Ministers at the meeting also agreed to implement a coordinated national labour-hire licensing scheme, with the draft intergovernmental agreement and funding to establish the scheme to be further considered by ministers in mid-2024.
Moreover, the national government has announced plans to place a complementary customs prohibition on engineered stone to provide an additional layer of enforcement and deterrence at the border.