Release type: Media Release


Australia’s first Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency CEO


The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Minister for Education
Minister for Workplace Relations

Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten today announced the appointment of a CEO to head up the new Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), and the appointment of the 10 members of the ASEA Council.

Mr Peter Tighe has been appointed as CEO of the Agency for a period of five years.

“The Rudd Government is committed to a national plan of action to eliminate asbestos exposure,” Minister Shorten said.

“The ASEA began operations on 1 July 2013 and marks a crucial step in Australia becoming the first nation to progress towards the ultimate elimination of asbestos-related diseases.”

“As CEO, Mr Tighe will work with governments and stakeholders to implement the national plan for asbestos eradication, handling and awareness.

“Asbestos is a cruel, indiscriminate killer that remains a persistent threat to Australians. The identification and safe removal of asbestos is an absolute priority for the Rudd Government.”

Mr Tighe recently was National Secretary of the Communications, Electrical, Plumbing Union, a position he held since 1995. He was also National Secretary of the Electrical Trades Union and Executive Member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions from 1991 to 2013. He is Chair of E-Oz Energy Skills Australia, E-Profiling Pty Ltd and the National Electrical and Electronic Industry Training Council and a trustee/board member of CBUS Superannuation. Mr Tighe has extensive experience in workplace health and safety issues and in tackling the hazards of asbestos containing materials. 

Mr Tighe will report to the Minister and consult with the ASEA Council, consisting of Commonwealth, state, territory and local government representatives and other expert members.

This position is a statutory appointment and was made following a merit based selection process.

Mr Geoff Fary has been appointed as Chair of the ASEA Council. Mr Fary was Chair of the Australian Asbestos Management Review conducted between 2010 and 2012.

The other members of the Council are Dr Ian Gardner representing the Commonwealth and Mr Peter Dunphy, Mr Mark McCabe, Mr Lex McCulloch and Dr Robert Walters as the members representing state, territory and local government; Mr Michael Borowick as the member representing the interests of workers; Ms Tracey Browne as the member representing the interests of employers; and Mr Barry Robson and Ms Tanya Segelov.

“The Council members have been appointed based on their expertise in asbestos management and public health fields and following consultation with state and territory governments, stakeholders and asbestos support and advocacy groups ,” Minister Shorten said.

“I am confident the appointments I am announcing today will enable ASEA to drive the important work of eliminating asbestos exposure in this country. I believe working together we can eradicate this killer once and for all.”

More information is available at:

If residents or businesses wish to report suspected asbestos containing material, please call the national asbestos hotline on 1800 888 468.


Members of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council:


Mr Geoff Fary was Chair of the Australian Asbestos Management Review between 2010 and 2012. Prior to this he was Assistant Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions for 3 years. Mr Fary has also held positions as Executive Director of the Association of Professional Engineers Scientists and Managers, Australia (APESMA) and National Vice President of the Industrial Relations Society, Australia. His former board memberships and directorships include Australian Employee Buyout Centre, APESMA Lawyers Pty Ltd, Victorian Government Purchasing Board, Safe Work Australia, Defence Reserves Support National Council and Commissioner for the Australian Safety and Compensation Commission.




Dr Ian Gardner has been a Senior Physician in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Department of Defence since 2010. Between 1998 and 2010 he was a Consultant Occupational Physician in private practice and prior to that held positions including Program Director, Health Safety and Environment Management at IBM Asia Pacific, Occupational Physician, Alcoa of Australia and Medical Superintendent at Clermont District Hospital. Dr Gardner is Chairman of the Health Review Board of the New South Wales (NSW) Public Service Commission and a Councillor of the Specialist Medical Review Council. His former board memberships include the Workers Compensation and Occupational Health and Safety Council of NSW and HealthQuest, NSW. Dr Gardner holds a Master of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from University of Queensland and Master of Public Health from University of Sydney.

Mr Peter Dunphy has been Director of Operations, Work Health and Safety Division of WorkCover NSW since 2011. Prior to this he held various senior management positions in WorkCover NSW including Director, Specialist Services Group, senior technical and policy roles, Acting Manager, Scientific Services Branch,  Scientific Advisor and Coordinator of the Asbestos Regulation Unit. His board memberships include Chair of Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities Working Group, the Asbestos Education Committee and the Demolition and Asbestos Consultative Committee.

Mr Mark McCabe is Work Safety Commissioner and Senior Director of WorkSafe ACT. His previous positions have included Manager, Workplace Injury Performance, ACT Chief Minister’s Department, Project Manager, ACT Safety First Project, New South Wales State Manager and then General Manager of Comcare. He is Chair or the Asbestos Regulators Forum and a member and former Chair of the ACT Work Safety Council. Mr McCabe is an Honorary Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia.

Mr Lex McCulloch has been Commissioner and Executive Director, WorkSafe Western Australia (WA) since 2011. Prior to this he was Assistant Commissioner, Youth Justice Services, WA. His previous positions include Deputy Commissioner, Offender Management and Professional Development, Youth Justice Services, WA, Acting Director General, Department of Indigenous Affairs, WA and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Pilbara Development Commission. He is a member of the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety.

Dr Robert Walters is a General Medical Practitioner, Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Colonel in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps. He is also medico-legal advisor and case manager, Medical Indemnity Protection Society and a workers’ compensation medical advisor to a number of insurance companies. Dr Walters has been General Practice Consultant to the Surgeon General, Australian Defence Force (ADF) since 1995 and prior to that held positions in the ADF as a Senior Medical Officer, Director of Medical Services (Tasmania Region) and Military Compensation Adviser for Tasmania. His board memberships include Chair, Ministerial Asbestos Steering Committee, Member, Workcover Tasmania Board, and Chair of the General Practice Consultative Group, ADF. Former board memberships include National Advisory Council on Mental Health, National E-Health Transition Authority, National Advisory Council on Suicide Prevention, ACCC Health Services Advisory Council, and Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council.

Mr Michael Borowick has been Assistant Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions since 2010. Prior to this held various elected and other positions in the Australian Workers’ Union and its predecessor organisations. Mr Borowick is a member of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, National Workplace Relations Consultative, Safe Work Australia, Defence Industry Innovation Board, Defence Reserves Support Council and is a Director of Trade Union Friends of Israel Ltd.

Ms Tracey Browne has been Manager, National Safety and Workers Compensation Policy and Membership Services, Australian Industry Group (AI Group) since 2007. Between 2006 and 2007 she was AI Group’s National Program Manager, Small Business Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Advisers Program and from 2001 to 2007 she was a their Principal Adviser, Workers Compensation and OHS. Her former positions also include Group Manager, Health Safety & Environment, Bendix Mintex Pty Ltd, Coordinator, Occupational Health & Safety/Personnel, ACI Glass Packaging and Senior Consultant, Occupational Health & Safety, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Mr Barry Robson has been President of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia since 2003 and was a delegate between 1995 and 2003. From 1995 to 2003 he was also Assistant Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia and prior to that a Councillor of Blacktown City Council, NSW.

Ms Tanya Segelov has been a Partner at Turner Freeman Lawyers since 2000 and is an expert in asbestos and legal issues. Between 1993 and 2000 she held positions as a Clerk, Solicitor and then Associate for Turner Freeman Lawyers. Ms Segelov is a member of the Asbestos Management Review Panel.