Mum’s asbestos worries

Maylands MLA Lisa Baker with concerned parent Helen Killick.
Maylands MLA Lisa Baker with concerned parent Helen Killick.

The Bedford resident, whose children attend the college, said the school was built in the 1960s and in need of an upgrade.

‘I’m highly concerned because if asbestos is cracking off and becomes airborne, kids are unknowingly breathing it in,’ Mrs Killick said. ‘Something might not develop now but later in life it would be devastating if something happened to their health.

‘As a parent, you take your kids to school thinking they are going to be safe there but really they’re not. If it’s not being repaired or just patched up, that’s not good enough.

‘With John Forrest’s funding being cut, it’s another thing that the Government is putting in the too hard basket.’

Maylands MLA Lisa Baker said the State Government must commit to the full replacement of asbestos and ‘much-needed’ upgrades at the college.

‘Existing asbestos in walls and much of the flooring of the original 1960s buildings puts John Forrest students at unnecessary risk,’ she said.

‘The State Government has known about asbestos at John Forrest for many years but has failed to put in place a plan to replace the asbestos with safe materials.’

Education Minister Peter Collier assured parents the Government was taking every precaution with children’s health in managing asbestos in schools.

Mr Collier said the Western Australian Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances had advised that exposure to asbestos cement material in WA public schools represented very little risk to health.

‘Environmental health experts advise that undisturbed asbestos poses an extremely low risk to health, and where it is located in areas that are unlikely to be disturbed, there is no urgent need to remove it,’ he said.

Mr Collier said the Building Condition Assessment reports carried out at every school provided a clear picture of where asbestos was located, and identified those spots where there could be a greater chance of the material being disturbed.

A Department of Education spokesman said the school had one area with a risk rating of three that would be monitored but was not at high risk of being disturbed.