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Asbestos-free Fairbairn Park reopens but Stefaniak didn’t know

By Kerces - 11 October 2005 6

Back in the start of September RA covered the accidental dumping of asbestos contaminated soil at Fairbairn Park.

Just over a month later and ACT Opposition spokesperson for all things fun Bill Stefaniak has decided to pay attention, saying that only one small part of the motorsports park was affected and that the government is once again neglecting motorsports enthusiasts.

“The very least this Government could do is ensure that Hill Climb and Go-Kart participants are no longer unduly affected by an asbestos closure that in fact would be of no risk to them,” he said.

Jon Stanhope, despite the fact he is neither minister for sport and recreation nor for racing and gaming, put out a release in response to this not long afterwards. It’s not online yet, so is reproduced below, but the gist of it is that actually the government did reopen some of the motorsport facilities and in fact they did this on either Thursday or Friday last week (it just says four days ago).

He also said the asbestos contamination was not the government’s fault and basically told Mr Stefaniak to pull his head in over the whole issue.

My question is that if parts of Fairbairn Park were reopened at the end of last week, how come we didn’t hear anything about it? Or did we and I just wasn’t paying attention?

STEFANIAK SHOULD KEEP HIS EYES ON THE ROAD

Yet again the Liberal Opposition has shown its incapacity to check basic facts, this time rushing out a media release calling for the re-opening of two motorsport facilities, four days after they were re-opened by the Government, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said today.

“Opposition spokesman on sport Bill Stefaniak must be kicking himself today after firing off a pointless press statement calling for the re-opening of the Hill Climb and Go-Karting at Fairbairn Park, which have been found by the Environment Protection Authority to be unaffected by a recent asbestos contamination of the Fairbairn complex,” Mr Stanhope said.

Environment ACT confirmed today that both the Hill Climb and the Go-Kart track had been re-opened last Friday, on the same day as the report declaring them free of contamination was finalised.

The Environment Protection Authority issued orders for the closure of Fairbairn Park Motorsport tracks last month, following the dumping of contaminated soil on the site.

Mr Stanhope said it was typical of the Liberal Opposition to try to extract some shred of political mileage out of a situation that was inherently apolitical.

“The Government did not create this asbestos contamination problem, and to be frank, the protection of the community from a potential health hazard should be far more important to any government than the pursuit of sporting interests,” Mr Stanhope said.

“The Government has worked closely and cooperatively with Fairbairn Park since the contamination was discovered and is working to ensure that the entire facility is re-opened for local motorsports enthusiasts once investigations and remedial actions have been completed.”

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6 Responses to
Asbestos-free Fairbairn Park reopens but Stefaniak didn’t know
Kerces 11:32 pm 11 Oct 05

Fair point, but it just struck me as odd. He has a whole cabinet to look after things and we keep being told the Leg Assembly needs to be expanded to share the workload around more, so why take on extra work by commenting on things he’s not responsible for?

glimmertwin 10:27 pm 11 Oct 05

But kerces, the Chief Minister is able to comment on any issue he likes regardless of which member of the opposition has raised it.

Howard isn’t the IR or Immigration Minister but that hasn’t stopped him having a bit to say about those areas lately.

Kerces 9:39 pm 11 Oct 05

But glimmertwin, Stafaniak was wanting to know about the park from a motorsports point of view. If the Libs thought it was an environmental matter, thery wouldn’t have gotten their Shadow Minister for Justice and Community Safety; Gaming and Racing; Fair Trading; Corrections; and Sport and Recreation to talk about it would they?

glimmertwin 8:46 pm 11 Oct 05

Kerces… Stanhope is Environment Minister so presumably the Environment Protection Authority would come under his control

Saru 3:29 pm 11 Oct 05

It was my understanding that the whole facility is still closed — or it was on Monday 10th.

If it was open the hillclimb would be on this weekend or there would at least be a working bee there to get the place cleaned up for the next event.

Maelinar 12:35 pm 11 Oct 05

that press release has more holes than swiss cheese.

So if it was reopened last friday, why do they close with ‘is working to ensure that the entire facility is re-opened blah blah once investigations and remedial actions have been completed’ ?

One sentence contradicts the other, it can’t be reopened until the remedial actions and investigations have been done, although they’ve stated earlier that it’s reopened…

I’m extracting that certain parts have been reopened in some kind of ceremony where the only people present were Jon and maybe a personal aide, no press, no releases, nothing, until the libs stepped up but I’m not too sure that as a responsible parent I’d want to be taking my kids to an area right next to an area still under investigation and remedial action, Asbestos is transmittable via the air you know Jon, that’s why you die of lung illnesses.

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