Pleas for task force to dig into asbestos crisis

An "agency command team" will lead the EPA's response to potential asbestos contamination in mulch.

An "agency command team" will lead the EPA's response to potential asbestos contamination in mulch. Photo: AAP

A council embroiled in Melbourne’s asbestos outbreak is pleading for the Victorian government to follow NSW’s lead and create a task force to tackle the growing crisis.

Hobsons Bay City Council voted on Tuesday night to call on Premier Jacinta Allan to emulate NSW by setting up an asbestos task force.

There are now as many as 10 parks or reserves across Melbourne that have been confirmed to have asbestos or are under investigation.

The NSW asbestos task force was announced in February to support the state’s environment watchdog after asbestos was found in mulch at the Rozelle Parklands.

Seventy-five sites across Sydney returned a positive result for asbestos following testing of 6500 tonnes of mulch.

Victorian Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas was non-committal on whether the government would follow through on the western Melbourne council’s request.

“The (Environment Protection Authority) has been working over the weekend and over the last few days … looking to find out the source of this contamination,” she told reporters.

“It’s particularly important we get to the bottom of it.”

Investigations are continuing after the cancer-causing substance was found at parks within Hobsons Bay and Merri-bek council areas.

The Environment Protection Authority on Tuesday confirmed it had received new reports of material likely to contain traces of asbestos in three other parks.

They were garden beds near a bowls club at Dennis Reserve in Williamstown, Altona Coastal Park and Fitzgerald Square Reserve in Sunshine West, which is part of Brimbank City Council.

On Wednesday, Hobsons Bay revealed testing had confirmed the presence of asbestos-containing material at Altona Coastal Park, with sections of the park fenced off until further notice.

“The EPA has advised that, so far, material confirmed as asbestos-containing material is bonded asbestos, not the more dangerous friable asbestos, and is considered low risk,” it said.

“Bonded asbestos is generally made up of a small amount of asbestos fibres that are tightly bound in a product such as resin or cement.”

Lab results have also confirmed asbestos was found at PA Burns Reserve at Altona, GJ Hosken Reserve at Altona North and Crofts Reserve at Altona North.

Inspectors previously confirmed asbestos was found at the under-construction park at Hosken Reserve at North Coburg, the PJ Lynch Reserve at Altona North and the Donald McLean Reserve at Spotswood.

The authority was still awaiting test results for Shore Reserve at Pascoe Vale South as of Tuesday night.


Topics: asbestos
Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.