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Call for transparency in public buildings with asbestos

By Canfan 7 July 2014 3

We have received the following note from a reader, Maria.

With all the talk about asbestos being found everywhere including childcare centres recently, shouldn’t the ACT government release a list of affected public-use buildings that are known to contain asbestos? Such as scout halls and other childcare centres that people would visit for children’s activities? The public have a right to know whether they are visiting asbestos ridden buildings, but the ACT government is keeping that list secret. Why?

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Call for transparency in public buildings with asbestos
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Kraken 5:16 pm 10 Dec 14

Actually, Maria is spot on! We know for sure that the Goodstart chidlcare in Aranda is affected by loose fill asbestos and the Ainslie Shops still has this stuff in the roof of a section of the buildings. We know that 2 businesses were shut down at the top floor but the building still stands, still allows businesses to operate, does not fall under the Dangerous Substances Act like all the Mr Fluffy homes and has no warning signs for the public alerting them to this fact. Let’s see if the gvt condemns the entire shops the way they are the affected homes. I sniff some pretty serious double standards and inequity in that scheme!

creative_canberran 11:03 am 11 Jul 14

‘Maria’ should be aware that there is a distinction between asbestos and loose-fill asbestos. Don’t confuse the recent panic over but relative rarity of the latter, with the very common former. Any building before the 1980s is unlikely NOT to have asbestos. The older the building in general, the more of it there is. I can say that some public institutions were, and likely still are riddled with it. For a long time the National Library has amosite dust coating surfaces in the ceiling spaces where it had worn away from fire proofing.

The point is not to panic, or to think this is a new issue, or an issue that will be solved over night. Asbestos use was rampant for the better part of the 20th century, it will take at least as long to even start to get rid of it all. And as taninaus points out, certain types of buildings must already have asbestos assessments. The ACT Government ordered assessments of schools not too long ago and the asbestos was every where.

taninaus 6:23 am 11 Jul 14

Owners of buildings like child care centres and scout halls are required to have an asbestos assessment and asbestos register by law. the law says the report has to be available to relevant people using the property. the ACT Gov has lots of information here

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