Asbestos fears: Education Department dismisses concerns at Gooseberry Hill Primary School

Asbestos fears: Education Department dismisses concerns at Gooseberry Hill Primary School

THE Department of Education has reiterated its message that there is no danger to children from asbestos at Gooseberry Hill Primary School.

Department infrastructure executive director John Fischer said materials found on the oval at the school did contain asbestos but they were of a very low risk to students and staff.

A consultant had informed the department that the types of asbestos-containing material identified at the school were typical of asbestos-containing materials that were usually found in urban areas and did not present a health hazard, Mr Fischer said.

“The department has also consulted with the Department of Health, which endorsed the consultant’s advice,” he said.

An Optus spokesman said Optus hosted an information session for residents regarding its proposed tower at Gooseberry Hill and had lodged a development application.

“We are aware that some hazardous building materials are within proximity to the proposed site and included this in our application,” he said.

“If our DA is approved, we will engage with relevant experts to advise and assist with remediation of the affected area and access track to the site.”

State Opposition education spokeswoman Sue Ellery said she was concerned it took an external body to find the asbestos at the school and the Government needed to provide parents with relevant information regarding the substance.

A parent at the school who declined to be named said the only reason the asbestos was discovered was because of the Optus application for the nearby reserve for a phone tower.

No To Towers group spokeswoman Emma Kallarn said the council had been withholding information from the public over the asbestos.

“While Optus has been extensively consulted and given access to documents relating to the contamination, members of the public have been denied that information by shire officers.”

But Kalamunda Shire President Andrew Waddell said no one had been given special access to any documentation.

“Our asbestos management plan is an internal document that is there for anyone who wants to request access to it.

“Optus asked for the document and it was supplied to them.

“The presence of asbestos at the school and the Ledger Road site is low risk and we are dealing with it.

“The low risk means the asbestos we have discovered at the site and the school is unlikely to expose anyone to the intensity of the exposure required to create illness or disease,” Cr Waddell said.