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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 980..

Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Asbestos facility

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, the other day Mr Pratt asked me about management arrangements for asbestos at the Belconnen tip. I am advised that all asbestos accepted at the Belconnen facility complies fully with WorkCover and ACTPLA requirements for handling and transporting such materials. To ensure the material is adequately contained, asbestos is delivered to the site in sealed drums in wrapped and taped heavy-duty plastic, or in shipping containers. The delivered material is placed in a suitably constructed asbestos pit for special burial and covered with fill material.

The placing and covering of fine asbestos deliveries is undertaken in a progressive manner. Deliveries are accepted every Thursday. They are placed in the special asbestos pit and covered as soon as practicable. Shipping containers and sealed drums are covered as required, due to their secure nature. Routine management of the pit is also undertaken, including pumping out any water that collects in the base of the pit.

ACT No Waste, the responsible agency, has in place a regular site inspection and monitoring regime, to identify any potential OH&S or environmental risks, as a standard work practice. I am advised that all people working at the facility are at all times protected from asbestos. No persons are permitted to come in contact with asbestos and, in the rare event that a plastic-wrapped load is split in the process of unloading or placement, it is buried as soon as practicable.

I understand that, in the specific case Mr Pratt is inquiring about, a maintenance contractor's employee sighted, at one end of the pit, a plastic-wrapped load of asbestos sheeting that had a split in the wrapping. The material was identified as asbestos sheeting, which did not pose a threat to workers some 25 metres away installing a pump-out line to the pit. The pump-out work has been undertaken in order to facilitate better machinery access to the pit floor to allow for the coverage of dumped materials to be completed.

Neither I nor my officers are aware of any unauthorised access to the Belconnen facility, which is a secure landfill operation that is fenced and locked. I am advised that the person in question was one of the contractor's employees and that the animal was the contractor's own dog. It appears that a third-hand account of activities on the site may have resulted in some confusion.

Office of the Community Advocate

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, in question time yesterday Mrs Burke asked me a question in relation to a meeting I had with the Community Advocate. In answering the question I indicated that present at the meeting also were the Chief Executive and Executive Director of the Department of Education, Youth and Family Services. I am advised that this was not the case and I wish to correct the record. The meeting occurred only between myself and the Community Advocate.

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