Australian government clarifies asbestos pledge

17 May 2017 by under News

GHS pictogram silhouette.svg  100x100 Australian government clarifies asbestos pledge’s Victorian government is under fire for what some are calling broken campaign promises. During a state government audit in 2014, some schools in the region were found to be so plagued with carcinogenic , they needed to be shut down. Labor party officials then campaigned under the suggestion of removing all asbestos from schools by 2020, according to sources quoted in The Brisbane Times, but government officials are now clarifying the promise.

When the State Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee recently questioned Shadow Minister Education James Merlino on asbestos removal he “said a suggestion that the government promised to remove asbestos from every single school was ‘farcical,’” according to the news source.

Merlino explained the cost of ridding all schools of the toxic material, known to cause lung cancer and deadly mesothelioma, would top $1.1 billion. “We are not going to be removing 30,000 buildings to address asbestos that may be in the foundations, or that may be in the roof cavity,” he said. “The commitment was a state-wide audit and removal of asbestos that posed an immediate risk to students … we are delivering our election commitment in full.”

Since taking office, the government has audited 1,712 government school sites and found 497 with high-risk asbestos that was removed by March 2016. Over the next three years, Merlino said, the government will replace 100 school buildings with new classrooms and remove asbestos at more than 1,200 schools. “When we came to office, one in three schools contained high-risk asbestos. Within 18 months, we had removed it all.”

However, for some, the plan still falls short of campaign promises. Victorian Greens education spokesperson Sue Pennicuik told The Brisbane Times, “The government should be sticking to their promise.”


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