Action required: EPA investigation into asbestos in mulch

Health and safety of Crown land managers (CLMs), and the people who use Crown reserves is a key priority for the NSW government. We want everyone who manages and uses our Crown reserves to stay safe.

CLMs are expected to exercise care and due diligence, taking all reasonable and practical steps to prevent injury or illness to themselves and others. This can be achieved pro-actively by identifying and managing risks on the Crown reserve.

We want everyone who manages and uses our Crown reserves to stay safe.

Action required: EPA investigation into asbestos in mulch

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is currently investigating the discovery of asbestos in mulch at multiple locations, with the support of the NSW Asbestos Taskforce.

Please note that the investigations are not just limited to the Sydney Metropolitan area, with sites outside of Sydney also being investigated.

Crown Lands is seeking information from non-council Crown land managers regarding any use of imported mulch on the Crown reserves they manage.

Action required from non-council Crown land managers

Have you received a delivery of mulch in the last 12 months?

No - No further action required

Yes - Please copy and paste the below table into an email and answer the questions. Email your responses to

Reserve Name or Number 
What has the mulch been used for (e.g. playground soft fall, garden)? 
Approx. how much mulch was used (volume)? 
What is the name of the mulch supplier? 
When did you use it? 
Was there a certificate issued with the mulch? 
What are your best contact details (name and phone number)? 

What happens next?

We will assess the risk to public at each of the nominated sites and will provide you with an update regarding next steps.

For more information on the EPA investigation into asbestos in mulch visit the EPA’s website.

Crown Lands Contact

Email –

Phone – 1300 886 235


Other health and safety information for Crown land managers

The department promotes legislative compliance and good WHS practice within Crown reserves. The Crown reserve code of conduct (the code) sets the standards and key principles for CLMs to follow when performing their duties. The code states that ‘we are responsible for the health and safety of individuals working, volunteering and/or using the Crown reserve’.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) provides a framework to protect the health, safety and welfare of all workers at work. It also protects the health and safety of all other people who might be affected by the work. Crown reserves are a place of work and workers includes volunteers.

The following templates are provided as examples that may assist CLMs in developing or enhancing their WHS risk management framework:

Key actions for CLMs

Have WHS as a standing agenda item in every meeting

✓  Conduct regular risk assessments that:

  • Identify any hazards
  • Assess the risks by identifying the likelihood and consequences of identified hazards
  • Implement control measures
  • Review the control measures

✓  Contact the department if a hazard has been identified and cannot be adequately controlled within available resources of the CLM

Obligations of volunteer CLMs who do not have employees

Volunteer organisations may be exempt from the WHS Act in regards to the duties imposed on 'persons conducting a business or undertaking' (PCBU). However, by applying the same safety framework you will enhance safety outcomes and clearly demonstrate due diligence, should an incident occur.

Other resources

SafeWork NSW is the regulatory authority for WHS. Refer to its website for practical information

Contact us

If you see something say something! We are here to help. If you're unable to address a WHS concern contact the department.

WHS Introduction module

A new online program to support WHS is now available for CLM use. This WHS resource will help you:

  • understand and comply with your obligations under the Work, Health and Safety Act 2011.
  • identify hazards on your reserve and practically manage the associated risks
  • implement improvement strategies to enhance the work health and safety practices on your reserve
  • access a range of resources and support to assist you in your safety journey.

View the WHS online resource

WHS module image

Risk management

Risk Management

Effective risk management protects people against injury or death, protects the land and buildings, and provides security from financial or legal damages. This information on the risk management process includes a worked example and useful templates.

Read more

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