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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 14 August 2018) . . Page.. 2816 ..


The safety of students, staff, contractors and the community is of paramount importance to the ACT government. If bonded asbestos material—for example, asbestos cement sheeting, or AC sheeting—is well maintained, undisturbed or inaccessible, it does not pose a health risk. There are 69 ACT public schools with a confirmed presence of asbestos-containing materials. Each of these public schools has a hazardous materials survey and management plan that includes an asbestos register. The survey and register are dual components of the same portfolio of information and, as such, must be read concurrently.

Any asbestos removal works are completed by a licensed asbestos removalist and are removed after hours when there are no students or staff in the school—for example, at night, on weekends and during school holidays. Demolition work in areas where it is possible that material containing asbestos may be exposed—for example, wet areas—must be undertaken after hours.

Regardless of the schedule of removal, mandatory exclusion zones are created on every occasion. Following the completion of the asbestos removal works, air monitoring is conducted before testing can be carried out by the National Association of Testing Authorities, or NATA, and registered laboratory and clearance certificates can be issued.

The type of asbestos is not the only factor which triggers removal. The eaves at Melba High School were replaced even though only bonded asbestos was found, as students kicking balls in the playground had been found to occasionally break the eaves, increasing an otherwise low risk situation.

Where schools require upgrades to floor coverings, the education support office provides funds to test and, if necessary, remove existing vinyl tiles which contain asbestos adhesive. Schools experiencing window breakages through accident or vandalism are also financially supported to test and, where necessary, remove all the black asbestos mastic prior to glass replacement. Where a bank of windows is identified adjacent to the broken one, all are repaired, often using energy efficient glazing.

One building at Campbell Primary School was demolished in January 2018 due to the presence of friable crocidolite asbestos within the wall cavities. This asbestos has been managed safely for a number of years. However, the building was at the end of life and the only long-term management measure was to demolish the building.

Three buildings at Narrabundah College contain friable crocidolite asbestos material. Alternative temporary classrooms are in the final stages of construction for occupation from day one of term three, with the demolition of three affected buildings being planned for the second half of 2018.

A great deal of asbestos-related work has been undertaken in the territory, and I commend all agencies and workers involved in the work to protect our residents, workers, and those within our schools from the risk posed by asbestos. I present a copy of the statement:


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