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Air test results destroyed? Liberals ask why

By johnboy 26 September 2011 35

Liberal Leader Zed Seselja is arcing up over the Mitchell Fire and asking why the results of air tests have been disappeared:

Today’s revelations that the Mitchell fire air results were not retained come on top of continued failings by ACT Labor in the aftermath of the emergency, ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said today. The Canberra Liberals have given the government fair latitude in their initial handling of the fire, but today’s inexplicable incompetence, on top of business owners still being locked out of their own premises and teachers receiving conflicting pay advice from different parts of government, is the latest in a litany of mounting failures.

“Today’s revelation that, despite Katy Gallagher’s contradictory assurances, air test results weren’t retained and therefore won’t ever be available is a shocking oversight,” Mr Seselja said.

We’re not sure how the teacher’s pay got in there…


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Air test results destroyed? Liberals ask why
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addicus 1:48 pm 28 Sep 11

Do you think the repercussions of not releasing this information and saying ”we are incompetent” might be far better then actually telling us a result ?
Or they actually took no recordings of the air readings, but only soil and water….? What we were breathing in seemed the most concern for everyone on that day, yet recording of tests weren’t considered to inform us of any dangers? Seems too convenient to not be able to have any form of air recordings, and very backwards regarding monitoring. It’s important to monitor people regarding road use and regular speeds, but dangerous condition recording just isn’t a priority.

PBO 9:54 am 28 Sep 11

I am also curious about the effect on Canberra’s water supply as many people lately have been noticing a strange taste in the last few days.

zippyzippy 11:04 pm 27 Sep 11

RedDogInCan said :

Can you even have a ‘litany of mounting failures’?

Heh, yeah, but remember outraged hyperbole is the strategy. Everything done by another party must be the most astounding, unforgivable, inconceivable, most extreme Canberra-destroying failure imaginable. The ‘litany of mounting failures’ media will continue unabated until the election.

PBO 2:20 pm 27 Sep 11

pajs said :

‘The absence of evidence there is a problem clearly proves there is a conspiracy.’

I don’t understand how people manage to get through life thinking like this.

Why, because it would highlight failings of the local government to be prepared in case of events like this?

pajs 1:51 pm 27 Sep 11

‘The absence of evidence there is a problem clearly proves there is a conspiracy.’

I don’t understand how people manage to get through life thinking like this.

Henry82 11:56 am 27 Sep 11

PBO said :

I guess now there cannot be any lawsuits regarding health issues as there is no evidence to back it up.

mmmm? how would the government defend themselves in a lawsuit? “trust us, we didnt record any results, so its okay”

PBO 10:35 am 27 Sep 11

I guess now there cannot be any lawsuits regarding health issues as there is no evidence to back it up.

gooterz 9:53 pm 26 Sep 11

I-filed said :

mareva said :

It’s disappointing there are no air test results. There are, however, results from the testing that was carried out on soil, water and surfaces. Better than nothing.

None of that testing was in residential areas was it, other than right near Mitchell? Yet residents of the inner north were experiencing sore throats, headaches etc. “Better than nothing” is pretty damn irrelevant if you need to know the extent of the environmental contamination.

Pretty sure one of my friends said that a sample was being collected from near their house!
You would expect different particles to be in different places due to weight and the intensity of the fire shooting the particles into the air, they would cover quite a distance.

I wonder if any CSIRO / ANU / UC persons collected any samples! I imagine that having toxins in the air might impact on plant research.

Watson 9:42 pm 26 Sep 11

pajs said :

Depends a bit on what equipment they have and what they are testing for, but it’s reasonably common for smaller portable test units to be focussed on giving OK/maybe a problem results, often without generating an overall record for all the tests. The idea is you can take a bunch of quick readings and if stuff you’re sampling for goes over a threshold, then you start into subsequent testing, documenting test results etc.

It would be interesting to hear more detail about how they tested. But it sounds like it wasn’t really good enough to assure people who reported symptoms that their tests were totally accurate.

yellowsnow 9:28 pm 26 Sep 11

I-filed said :

A few years ago I spent two days in a small town in France which had a large chemical company premises on the outskirts of the town and right on the town’s river. I was disconcerted to notice in shops etc that an awful lot of people seemed to have little red spots on their upper arms, and wondered whether it was from environmental contamination. Interestingly, in the last few days I’ve had similar small red spots on my thigh, and an unprecedented little sore spot on my tongue, as well as something similar to a coldsore in the the corner of my mouth (but isn’t behaving like a coldsore). Could be a coincidence, but I’m not prone to skin conditions such as psioriasis and I’ve never had these symptoms before …
If others have had similar symptoms and reported them, that could give some insight into why the monitoring and test results have been (deliberately IMO) slack to the point where any investigation into the facts would be expensive and difficult. Simon “Mini Bhopal” Corbell is acting adversarially, like the defence lawyer in a lawsuit, already. Some representative of the people of Canberra!

I love a good conspiracy as much as the next theorist – and it is i guess plausible that govt is covering up bad results to protect itself from future lawsuits and people blaming every future medical condition, even if unrelated, on the Mitchell Incident.

But bear in mind this is the ACT government, not the USSR, we’re talking about. General incompetence yes, conspiring to cover up something up from the public — unlikely. Simplest explanation is always the best, in this case lack of professionalism. Having said that, they did cover up the Molonglo asbestos debacle for a good few months before eventually going public with it.

Eventually some version of the truth always comes out because government workers or contractors talk – to family, friends, media, etc. Except when they play in an entirely different league, like ASIO.

I-filed 9:08 pm 26 Sep 11

mareva said :

It’s disappointing there are no air test results. There are, however, results from the testing that was carried out on soil, water and surfaces. Better than nothing.

None of that testing was in residential areas was it, other than right near Mitchell? Yet residents of the inner north were experiencing sore throats, headaches etc. “Better than nothing” is pretty damn irrelevant if you need to know the extent of the environmental contamination.

mareva 8:53 pm 26 Sep 11

It’s disappointing there are no air test results. There are, however, results from the testing that was carried out on soil, water and surfaces. Better than nothing.

I-filed 7:25 pm 26 Sep 11

A few years ago I spent two days in a small town in France which had a large chemical company premises on the outskirts of the town and right on the town’s river. I was disconcerted to notice in shops etc that an awful lot of people seemed to have little red spots on their upper arms, and wondered whether it was from environmental contamination. Interestingly, in the last few days I’ve had similar small red spots on my thigh, and an unprecedented little sore spot on my tongue, as well as something similar to a coldsore in the the corner of my mouth (but isn’t behaving like a coldsore). Could be a coincidence, but I’m not prone to skin conditions such as psioriasis and I’ve never had these symptoms before …
If others have had similar symptoms and reported them, that could give some insight into why the monitoring and test results have been (deliberately IMO) slack to the point where any investigation into the facts would be expensive and difficult. Simon “Mini Bhopal” Corbell is acting adversarially, like the defence lawyer in a lawsuit, already. Some representative of the people of Canberra!

MissChief 5:33 pm 26 Sep 11

They may as well just fess up and tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Despite what they obviously think, we’re not stupid. The longer they make excuses, the bigger the hole they dig. You only need to spend a few minutes on the internet to find out what the result of burning or incinerating PCBs is.

Henry82 4:54 pm 26 Sep 11

pajs said :

Depends a bit on what equipment they have and what they are testing for, but it’s reasonably common for smaller portable test units to be focussed on giving OK/maybe a problem results, often without generating an overall record for all the tests. The idea is you can take a bunch of quick readings and if stuff you’re sampling for goes over a threshold, then you start into subsequent testing, documenting test results etc.

Any decent scientist would know to record the results. At the very least the tester would be able to say “i made x tests that night on the air quality, with a threshold of x, there were x passes and x fails. I sampled air in x area throughout the night, mainly focusing on x region”. It wouldn’t be that hard to drum up a few paragraphs. Most weekends police release a statement about their RBTs without having a dedicated logger on-site, i don’t see why a scientist can’t do the same.

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