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June 23, 2018

Taxpayers to cover James Hardie asbestos shortfall

Taxpayers to cover James Hardie asbestos shortfall

Business

Date

Tim Binsted

The NSW government will extend funding to asbestos victims in case of a shortfall in funds from James Hardie

The NSW government will extend funding to asbestos victims in case of a shortfall in funds from James Hardie Photo: Bloomberg

The New South Wales government will extend further credit to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund to prevent victims being paid in instalments in the event payments from James Hardie Industries are insufficient to cover claims.

On Friday the NSW government said it has agreed to amend the terms of its loan facility with the AICF. The changes extend the term of the loan and allow the fund to draw down the full $320 million of the facility rather than $214 million previously stipulated.

The AICF warned last year that a spike in mesothelioma claims, the most expensive asbestos victims claims category, could force it to enter an “approved payment scheme” as of July 1.

The scheme, which would have allowed compensation to be paid to some victims in instalments rather than upfront due to a lack of funds, sparked outrage among victims groups.

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Taxpayers to cover James Hardie asbestos shortfall

U of M prof diagnosed with mesothelioma speaks out over asbestos


Beth Macdonell, CTV Winnipeg



Published Friday, October 3, 2014 3:47PM CST



Last Updated Friday, October 3, 2014 6:28PM CST

A University of Manitoba professor with a rare form of cancer often linked with exposure to asbestos has a warning. Patricia Martens wants others to be aware and be safe.

Martens, 62, is a professor of health sciences at the University of Manitoba and is an Order of Canada recipient. She has travelled extensively, researching trends in health and health care.

In February 2013, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

Martens was told she had nine to 12 months to live. She tried chemotherapy but stopped after doctors found it wasn’t working. Radiation is not possible because of the way the cancer spreads.

She doesn’t know exactly when she was exposed, but this type of cancer can form as long as 50 years after exposure.

Martens believes the asbestos exposure could have happened while studying or working on the U of M campus, but she can’t say for sure, as the cancer can take up to 50 years to show signs.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers believes at least four cases, including Martens’ one, could possibly be linked to asbestos at the University of Manitoba. The institution has many old buildings that used asbestos, said Brenda Austin Smith from the group.

The university is working to eradicate asbestos, to make the buildings safe and sends out emails to staff about the asbestos abatement project, where crews will be working to remove it and to advise people to steer clear, said Austin Smith.

Martens doesn’t plan to sue the university and isn’t bitter. Instead, she plans to make the most of the time she has left, spending time with family and warning others that asbestos is still out there.

The federal and provincial governments have information on strict rules regarding asbestos and its removal.

Martens would like to see it completely banned in Manitoba.

The University of Manitoba issued a statement Friday afternoon.

“It is very unfortunate that a University of Manitoba professor is ill and we feel for Dr. Martens and her family. It is difficult to trace the exact cause or event in such cases, but the University of Manitoba has and will continue to comply with Manitoba Health and Safety legislation to ensure a healthy and safe work environment,” it said in the statement.

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U of M prof diagnosed with mesothelioma speaks out over asbestos

Northey Street soil testing finds arsenic, asbestos and lead

Northey Street soil testing finds arsenic, asbestos and lead

Queensland

Date

Brisbane City Council contaminant testing found arsenic, lead and asbestos in the soil at Northey Street Community Organic Farm.

Brisbane City Council contaminant testing found arsenic, lead and asbestos in the soil at Northey Street Community Organic Farm. Photo: Supplied

Lead, asbestos and arsenic has been detected during Brisbane City Council soil testing at Northey Street City Farm.

The popular inner-north organic farm was given the go ahead to reopen on Friday afternoon, six weeks after it was closed, but only after it implements a number of measures to minimise health risks.

But farming team manager Dick Copeman said it remained unclear whether the findings would enable the two hectare city farm to retain its organic certification.

“We notified the organic certifier when the original issue arose, if we want to maintain that status we will have to come up with a management plan,” he said.

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Northey Street soil testing finds arsenic, asbestos and lead

Asbestos, arsenic at organic farm

Northey Street soil testing finds arsenic, asbestos and lead

Queensland

Date

Brisbane City Council contaminant testing found arsenic, lead and asbestos in the soil at Northey Street Community Organic Farm.

Brisbane City Council contaminant testing found arsenic, lead and asbestos in the soil at Northey Street Community Organic Farm. Photo: Supplied

Lead, asbestos and arsenic has been detected during Brisbane City Council soil testing at Northey Street City Farm.

The popular inner-north organic farm was given the go ahead to reopen on Friday afternoon, six weeks after it was closed, but only after it implements a number of measures to minimise health risks.

But farming team manager Dick Copeman said it remained unclear whether the findings would enable the two hectare city farm to retain its organic certification.

“We notified the organic certifier when the original issue arose, if we want to maintain that status we will have to come up with a management plan,” he said.

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Asbestos, arsenic at organic farm

Asbestos risk closes school for another week

Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.
Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.

The potential for asbestos contamination at a primary school will keep students away until at least Thursday next week.

Bayfield School in Auckland’s Herne Bay closed on Thursday last week after tests showed the possibility that asbestos dust had drifted outside a contained worksite on the school grounds.

Students were kept home from school on Friday and this week they had been attending nearby Ponsonby Primary School, where they were being taught in the school hall and additional classrooms.

Bayfield Board of Trustees’ chairman David McPherson said in a statement today that the school would be closed until all demolition work was completed.

The school was demolishing classrooms on site due to leaky building problems, and the school swimming pool was also being removed.

“The safety of our students and teaching staff is paramount, so we won’t re-open the school until we are assured, through the Board’s independent review process, that the site is safe,” Mr McPherson said.

Once the school is re-opened, building would not go ahead until the board could verify the work would be undertaken safely, he said.

Two investigations were underway into the process of the asbestos removal.

“We will await the results of these investigations, which will also be shared with the community,” Mr McPherson said.

“In fairness to the various parties involved in those investigations it is important that we don’t jump to conclusions about the process that was undertaken.”

An asbestos-contaminated building was demolished during the school holidays, however the demolished material was not removed from the school site until Friday last week.

There was concern that during that time asbestos dust had travelled from the work site to the rest of the school grounds.

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Asbestos risk closes school for another week

Asbestos exposure forces closure of RPAC

| Posted: Friday, Mar 07, 2014 02:13 pm

Okotoks Rotary Performing Arts Centre is closed until further notice due to asbestos exposure, forcing the cancellation of events at the facility.

The facility had to be closed when part of the ceiling fell into the theatre area as a result of work being done by contractors on March 6, exposing asbestos in the building.

The Yuk Yuks on Tour event scheduled for March 8 is cancelled and refunds will be issued to ticketholders. Other user groups and bookings affected by the closure will be notified by the Town.

An asbestos removal company will begin remediation work Saturday morning and will take a few days.

Prior to the 2010 renovations to the RPAC, an asbestos analysis report indicated asbestos was located in the original ceiling and wall plaster, and proper procedures were followed. Final inspections deemed it safe for public use.

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Asbestos exposure forces closure of RPAC

NSW fire victims must heed asbestos threat

Residents scouring the rubble of their fire-razed homes must take care so they don’t become the next generation of asbestos victims, campaigners say.

Ahead of the launch of National Asbestos Awareness Month, organisers are warning of the fresh asbestos threat among the ruins of last month’s devastating bushfires.

WorkCover operations director Peter Dunphy says Blue Mountains residents and emergency workers need to take extra precautions to stay safe.

Fire-related contamination sometimes doesn’t develop into illness for decades, he says.

“The last thing we want is (for them) to be the next lot of people who end up with asbestos-related diseases,” he said.

Asbestos risks posed by natural disasters are becoming increasingly common and home renovations are also dangerous, given DIY renovators often don’t plan for potential asbestos disruptions, he says.

Treasurer Mike Baird on Thursday pledged a further $1.2 million for the asbestos clean-up in the Blue Mountains fire zone.

The extra funding comes after $200,000 was provided for initial assessments in Winmalee and Springwood.

Emergency workers stationed in the area have assessed properties and placed signs outside warning of any asbestos threat.

National Asbestos Awareness Month will be launched with a candlelight tribute at Circular Quay on Friday.

Excerpt from:  

NSW fire victims must heed asbestos threat

Asbestos warning for NSW bushfire zones

Residents returning home after the NSW bushfires have been warned that asbestos has been found in at least 48 of the properties so far inspected.

About 235 homes have been assessed and 175 analysed further for asbestos, with the dangerous material detected in 48 houses, former NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Phil Koperberg told ABC radio on Friday.

“Any house built prior to 1987 is more likely than not to have an asbestos content,” he said.

Many areas are yet to be inspected and even though the risk of exposure is “low,” Mr Koperberg warned people to stay out of their homes if they’re unsure.

“(It’s) better to be sure than sorry,” he said.

Signs will be placed outside properties where asbestos is found and an information hotline will also be set up.

Mr Koperberg, who is the Blue Mountains emergency recovery co-ordinator, will visit Winmalee with Premier Barry O’Farrell on Friday.

Premier Barry O’Farrell said the asbestos risk was probably minimal.

“However it’s better to be safe than sorry,” he told reporters at the Winmalee Fire Station on Friday.

A co-ordinated clean up effort would be undertaken quickly, he said, and burnt out properties with asbestos would be sign-posted.

Blue Mountains Emergency Recovery co-ordinator Phil Koperberg said people who had already returned to homes shouldn’t panic.

“This is an exponential type of event so the longer and the greater the exposure the higher the risk,” he said.

“We’re asking people who have been (to burnt out homes) not to go back until we’ve settled the sites down.”

He said of the 235 homes destroyed by fire 67 had so far been found to have asbestos.

There were also safety concerns about arsenic in treated pine and of the potential for remaining structures to collapse.

Mr Koperberg said the asbestos assessment teams hadn’t been able to get into the fire zones until Tuesday because conditions had been too dangerous.

Read more – 

Asbestos warning for NSW bushfire zones

NBN asbestos problems, 457 visas and republics – politics live blog

The Opposition leader Tony Abbott was out briefly on the doors of parliament a little while ago. He was asked about how he intended to implement the Coalition’s policy of turning back people smugglers’ boats when it is safe to do so.

(This issue became sticky for the Coalition last Friday when the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia indicated there was no agreement to turn boats back. Defence officials have already queried whether this pledge is workable in practice.)

In an interview with Guardian Australia political editor, Lenore Taylor, Shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop counsels that all will be well, whatever the Indonesians might be saying to the contrary. ‘It’s the relationship stupid.’ Here’s Lenore’s piece.

This is an excerpt:

High-ranking Indonesian ministers and officials have indicated privately that Indonesia would cooperate with a Coalition government to turn back people smuggler boats insists Julie Bishop, the foreign affairs spokeswoman and deputy Liberal leader, despite the country’s ambassador claiming publicly that “no such collaboration will happen.”

“I have had a number of conversations with high-ranking Indonesian ministers and officials, as has [immigration spokesman] Scott Morrison as has [Coalition leader] Tony Abbott and I am convinced we can work in cooperation with Indonesia to achieve our policy aim,” Bishop said in a wide-ranging foreign policy interview with Guardian Australia.

Tony Abbott is also on the ‘all will be well’ theme. The Coalition has a strong and constructive relationship with Indonesia, Abbott says.

Here’s the relevant sections from his press conference this morning.

QUESTION: Mr Abbott are you prepared to defy the Indonesian Government to turn boats back there even though their Ambassador on Friday made it clear that they don’t want to accept them?

TONY ABBOTT: Look, we’re very confident that we can have a strong and constructive relationship with the Indonesian Government. I’ve had several meetings with the President. I’m met with Foreign Minister Natalegawa. I have a good and strong relationship with Ambassador Nadjib. Julie Bishop obviously spends an enormous amount of time working with the Indonesians, as does Scott Morrison. So we are very confident that an incoming Coalition government won’t repeat the kind of mistakes that we’ve seen from the current government of which the absolute worst was the suspension of the live cattle trade in a state of panic over a TV programme.

QUESTION: You’re talking about the willingness to turn boats around now. Is that different to the reality of turning boats around? Will you actually turn around any boats?

TONY ABBOTT: The Howard Government turned boats around. It wasn’t a large number, but it was enough to send an absolutely crystal clear signal to the people smugglers and their clients that the game was up and that the Australian Government and people would no longer be played for mugs.

QUESTION: How long do you think it will take to stop the boats?

TONY ABBOTT: We will make a difference from day one, from day one we will make a difference and obviously we will be judged on our results – should we win this election – at the subsequent one.

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NBN asbestos problems, 457 visas and republics – politics live blog

School asbestos removal worker dies

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School asbestos removal worker dies