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Life-saving ban starts after CFMEU victory

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2106
engineered stone

Workers’ lives will be saved from deadly dust diseases after Australia becomes the first country to ban engineered stone.

The CFMEU’s Stop The Killer Stone campaign led to the prohibition of the deadly product, which causes silicosis – an incurable condition.

The construction union vowed to ban its members from working with engineered stone from 1 July.

But after significant pressure on politicians and businesses, along with a sustained public education campaign, governments agreed to implement the ban by that deadline.

CFMEU National Secretary Zach Smith said it was a momentous day for workers.

“Our union has stopped the asbestos of the 2020s in its tracks,” he said.

“This ban will save lives and protect workers’ families and friends from enduring more senseless deaths.

“This is a once-in-a-generation moment for workplace health and safety, only made possible by the sheer bravery of union members.

“No individual deserves more credit than Kyle Goodwin, a former stonemason with silicosis who has dedicated himself to ensuring no other workers receive a death sentence like he has.

“CFMEU members stood up to evil businesses profiting from the deaths of workers – and won.

“Nothing says more about our union’s core values than achieving a life-saving result through banding together to save lives.

“Our pledge to ban engineered stone was deadly serious, but I’m thankful federal, state and territory governments acted so we didn’t have to.

“While this is undoubtedly a day to celebrate, I want to send a clear warning that the CFMEU will be watching like hawks for any company, employer or individual trying to get around this ban.”


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