January 23, 2019

Loose asbestos in house

Greater Hume general manager Steve Pinnuck.

Greater Hume general manager Steve Pinnuck.

THE NSW Privacy Act stands in the way of a loose-fill asbestos taskforce naming the town in Greater Hume Shire where a property tested positive for the deadly insulation.

The finding has prompted Greater Hume Council to encourage people with loose-fill asbestos in their roof to register for the NSW government’s free testing program.

Greater Hume general manager Steve Pinnuck said the council had been advised of the location of the house which tested positive, but could not disclose exactly whether that property was in Jindera, Culcairn, Holbrook or any other shire town.

Neighbours of the affected property have not been notified.

“The homeowner has been made aware and there is assistance available to householders in the way of short-term accommodation, as well as replacement of soft furnishings and clothing,” Mr Pinnuck said.

A NSW loose-fill asbestos insulation taskforce spokesman said the NSW Privacy Act prevented the taskforce from revealing the location.

“The taskforce is not able to confirm the location of a property without the written consent of the owner,” he said.

Early last month a house in the Berrigan Shire Council became the first property in the southern Riverina to test positive, bringing the number of affected properties in NSW to 58.

A testing program was introduced in response to problems identified with those houses where a private contractor from Canberra known as Mr Fluffy had pumped friable loose asbestos fibre into their roof between 1968 and 1980.

Most of the properties affected are in the ACT.

Mr Pinnuck said the council was surprised to be one of the 26 local government areas named as a possible location where loose-fill asbestos was installed.

“There’s been at least one property and there could be more,” he said.

The taskforce spokesman said the property in the Greater Hume Shire participated in an independent investigation into loose-fill asbestos in NSW’s free ceiling insulation testing program.

He said a free independent technical assessment by a licensed asbestos assessor would now be offered to the property owners as part of the taskforce’s “Make Safe” assistance package.

The council will work with the taskforce and provide appropriate support and assistance to the affected owner.

Anyone wanting to arrange a free sample test should phone 13 77 88.


Loose asbestos in house

Family demand asbestos-test result

Family demand asbestos-test result


Last updated 05:00 04/06/2014

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A Canterbury family fears they have been exposed to asbestos, but say Fletcher EQR and the Earthquake Commission (EQC) are refusing to hand over the results of a test.

Architectural technician David Reynolds said he was told by “reliable sources” that the test came back positive for asbestos, but he had been unable to get confirmation from authorities, despite asking for months.

Reynolds said the suspected contaminated material was cut by workers who were not wearing protective clothing or masks and while he was present.

Some was carried through the kitchen without care and some was left exposed in the home’s only toilet while his young children were home, he said.

“[I] live with the fear that my family was exposed to asbestos.”

He was seeking legal advice, including whether to get an independent test done.

A Fletcher spokesman told The Press the result of the second asbestos test was passed on verbally, although he was unable to confirm the date that happened.

“Our standard is to also provide the written report, and we apologise for not having done so in this case.”

The spokesman confirmed the result was positive for asbestos and related to the exterior cladding of the house.

Reynolds said the results were only “hinted” at and had never been formally passed on.

“More than just telling us, they need to show us the report and tell us where [the asbestos] is.”

Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) member Andy Dickerson raised concerns about the handling of asbestos in Canterbury’s rebuild in May 2011 “because I was concerned at what I was seeing in the community”.

Some groups were still trying to “play down” the importance of the issue, he said.

“I believe this is a major issue for Christchurch going forward. The CDHB has a statutory role to protect public health and should not be swayed from carrying out this function.”

It was likely that anyone who had been exposed to asbestos would not show any health effects “for many years”, he said.

WorkSafe New Zealand had investigated and closed five complaints about the handling of asbestos during Canterbury’s rebuild, and was currently investigating a sixth complaint against Fletcher.

A WorkSafe spokesman said proceedings for the case were adjourned by the Christchurch District Court on Friday.

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– The Press


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Family demand asbestos-test result