Asbestos health fears

new developments add to concerns
new developments add to concerns

Desmond Bowers said he had been writing to the City of Canning for several years raising concerns about the removal of the substance, commonly found in houses and fences in Perth’s established suburbs.

Mr Bowers said he was frustrated by the lack of transparency between the local government and residents when it came to notice of removal of the dangerous mineral.

‘A couple of apartments got knocked down in Gerard Street, East Cannington, in a school zone, which could have sent fumes over to the school and over to a daycare centre and my house,’ Mr Bowers said.

‘In two years, it must have been seven or 10 sites that I’ve told them about and not once have they been to my house to investigate about the dust.’

President of the Asbestos Diseases Association of Australia in Osborne Park, Robert Vojakovic, said the public could not be complacent of the risk asbestos posed as urban renewal projects continued across the city.

‘Demolition of homes that contain asbestos products can lead to the release of asbestos fibres that pose a threat to everyone in the immediate area of the demolition, such as neighbours, pedestrians and workers without the correct protective equipment,’ Mr Vojakovic said.

‘The protection of the public from the deadly risk of developing asbestos diseases, and in particular malignant mesothelioma, is a real issue for every Shire and City in Western Australia.’

Mr Vojakovic said it was no longer just workers who needed to be wary of the substance.

‘Recent studies have found the group of people in which there has been a noticeable rise in the diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma are women who have done renovations on their own homes,’ he said.

Mr Bowers said he saw dust released as he watched an asbestos fence removed two weeks ago in East Cannington.

‘They used this machine to take the contaminated soil away and they had a little garden hose to try to water it down but lots of the dust was going over the neighbourhood, heading towards St Joseph’s and St Norbert’s School,’ he said.

‘Give the people the opportunity for information before work starts on the site from the contractor or the council, mainly the council, because they’re the ones with the knowledge so we can take steps to protect our family.’

City of Canning Commissioner Linton Reynolds said the City of Canning did not routinely notify residents of the removal of asbestos.

‘The City focuses on ensuring residents are safe by enforcing the correct removal of asbestos,’ Mr Reynolds said.

‘The City carries out unannounced inspections of asbestos removal. There are minor works, such as fence removals or internal modifications to a house, where there is no requirement by law for an approval from the Local Government.’

Mr Bowers said he would continue his petition for more transparency from local government on the removal of asbestos.

‘It’s an issue that everyone is being too complacent about it,’ he said. ‘They all think of Wittenoom but they don’t realise Wittenoom has moved to the suburbs. It’s all in the suburbs these days.’