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  4. » Asbestos Exposure to Darwin Mall traders and customers: A risk to public safety

Asbestos Exposure to Darwin Mall traders and customers: A risk to public safety

MEDIA RELEASE

Asbestos Exposure to Darwin Mall traders and customers: A risk to public safety 

Public exposure to asbestos containing materials across Darwin but particularly in the Darwin Mall requires immediate public release of the Sun Build asbestos management plan by NT WorkSafe.

Union NT Secretary Alan Paton has urged NT WorkSafe to release the asbestos plan for the building site to the Construction Union and Darwin Mall traders to assure the community that worker and public safety is protected. Failure to do so to date, has not ensured public confidence in either the demolition project or their safety.

Clearly, the facts around there being no safe level of exposure to asbestos have been foolishly, dishonestly and deliberately obscured by Sun Build claims that ‘pieces of asbestos materials were planted on the site by a union’.

As demonstrated late last week, the site had not been cleared of asbestos containing materials nor had air quality monitoring or correct protective equipment been appropriately used, issued or worn by workers on the site. The careless attitudes of Sun Build to public safety has also been demonstrated by alleged illegal dumping of asbestos materials outside of the registered Darwin City Council Shoal Bay site.

Darwin City Council and the NT Government also have significant questions to answer about asbestos management across Darwin and the NT, said Mr Paton.

The Nightcliff Foreshore, the Botanical Gardens, the NBN roll out project, all NT government buildings, schools, domestic and commercial buildings may contain asbestos which over time will need to have asbestos removed and safely disposed of.

The acute shortage of licensed removal sites in the NT also requires immediate attention by all levels of government as caches of the deadly material exist across the NT in many urban, regional and remote areas, rather than being buried across known sites throughout the NT.

For almost 10 months Unions NT have unsuccessfully sought to engage the NT, Commonwealth and Local governments and the NT Opposition on a timeframe to effectively eliminate asbestos from the NT built environment.

Until government puts the safety of the community as a priority, innocent people will be exposed to potential risk of disease and illnesses which are now well known in Australia and throughout the world, said Mr Paton.

The use of unlicensed and untrained people, including backpackers by some licensed asbestos removalists to remove and safely dispose of asbestos, clearly indicates that neither the Northern Territory or Commonwealth Governments are not paying adequate attention to this potentially deadly material. The establishment of a National Asbestos agency only last week represents a positive step in the right direction.

For further information contact Alan Paton at Unions NT on 89 410001 or 0427415713.

Published: 25 Jun 2013

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