Three Schools in Brisbane are now faced with asbestos concerns amid revelations that construction workers digging trenches at Graceville State Primary school found asbestos
Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek says alerts have been sent out to the parents of students at Sandgate High School and Rainworth State School regarding recent asbestos concerns.
Langbroek stated that parents, faculty, and students have all been kept in the loop regarding the safety risk.
Langbroek says clear measures are used to deal with any asbestos issues in schools; such as closing off areas, and obtaining the services of professionals to conduct air and soil tests.
Regarding the Graceville case, Langbroek says that two very small discrete pieces of the deadly material were identified and subsequent tests revealed that asbestos particles were not spread throughout those areas.
He says in the Graceville case, two very small, discreet pieces of asbestos have been identified.
Mr Langbroek says there’s a very large amount of asbestos in Queensland schools, dating back to the 1950s.
“We do remove (it). Over last financial year and this financial year, we have a budget of $40 million to go towards removing asbestos,” he said.
“Given the amount of asbestos there though, it’s a small amount. But it’s something that’s at least planned and structured compared to what was happening when I first came into parliament in 2004.”
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Albanese was in Coffs Harbour where he referenced the asbestos scare in Coffs Harbour and any repeat incident will be managed with great care.
“Each and every time there’s a project in which asbestos is present, it needs to be managed according to best occupational health and safety practice.” he said.
“This is not an issue that will be dealt with over a day or a week, this is an issue that is dealt with whenever you deal with infrastructure.”
Mr Albanese said the NBN can have a significant impact on education and healthcare.
“Now just think about the silly debate that goes on about costs,” he said.
“The costs of hospitalisation, the costs of trips to the GP, the costs of nurses going to the home to look after people.
“That’s why this is such a no brainer, this is about saving money, not spending money.”
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Theodora Ahilas clients have all had contact with asbestos throughout the past 5 decades. Now her clients are dying and the pressure is on to ascertain the time of exposure so their families can receive compensation within their lifetimes.
Ahilas is an asbestos solicitor and has taken on approximately 1000 mesothelioma victim’s cases.Now, in the same month that seven James Hardie directors been fortunate to have their penalties reduced, she’s been awarded the Law and Justice Foundation’s Justice Medal, for her commitment to their victims.
”I’ve seen people give their last breath getting compensation for their families,” Ms Ahilas said.
”It’s awful, but it’s still amazing that the human spirit is still prepared to fight at that point. That’s why I love the work.”
However, the economics behind compensation for asbestos victims has evolved in her two-decade career.
The first influx of victims reports was the mining and factory workers who suffered direct exposure to asbestos and often battled its manufacturers, who allege to not have known about asbestos adverse affects until 1960.The second emergence of victims came from builders and plumbers whose work involved with fibro products.
Now reports indicate that a third influx is expected to come through– from women and children who washed the overalls of all those workers, the bystanders and DYI home renovators.
Now the third wave is coming through – the women who washed the overalls of those workers, the bystanders and the home renovators.Invariably, they have no idea when they were exposed.”I say to people when they come to me, ‘Think of it as a big jigsaw puzzle,”’ she said.
”It’s a forensic exercise. You’re looking at something that happened 30 or 40 years ago. You look for records to see what products they might have used. It’s a lot of talking to witnesses and going back and finding people,” Ms Ahilas said.
The third wave of victims demonstrates how indiscriminate mesothelioma can be.
”It could happen to anyone. There were several middle management [people] at James Hardie who developed mesothelioma, and that would be from walking through the factory.”
But if they ever sought compensation, they never called Theodora Ahilas.
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Australian maritime workers are frequently being exposed to potentially fatal asbestos fibres aboard foreign registered ships that have been discovered with fake papers citing that they are asbestos free.
The Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers have expressed concerns that vessels or tug boats being brought into the country, continue to endanger the safety and lives of seafarers.
The union’s concerns were included in a public submission to the federal government investigation into asbestos management.
The submission states that the International Maritime Organisation has distributed warnings that asbestos has been uncovered in ship fire blankets, wall and ceiling coverings, and other parts of the ship.
Federal Laws dating back to 2005, have prohibited the entry of vessels containing asbestos, however ships continue to arrive in Australia with asbestos ridden materials. The ship carry “asbestos free” certificates but they have often been proven false by respectable Australian authorities.
The submission also cited a difficulty in enforcing Australia’s health and safety laws on internationally- registered ship, which have proven an obstacle in the process of achieving asbestos-free workplaces.
According to the submission, eight tug boats brought in from abroad, were discovered to have a serious amount of asbestos on their vessel despite being in possession of “asbestos –free” certificates.
The federal inquiry on asbestos management will be finalized in June.
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