Timing of Government plan to toughen asbestos safety rules ludicrous following Roe 8 debacle: Greens

The Greens have today slammed the Barnett Government for being hypocritical following an announcement of its intention to apply “tough new penalties” for failing to take appropriate safeguards when handling or disposing of asbestos.

Greens Member for South Metropolitan Region Lynn MacLaren MLC said today’s announcement of proposed amendments to Health (Asbestos) Regulations would inflame tensions between the Government and residents near Coolbellup bushland and workers involved in clearing for Roe 8 there.

“Residents of Malvolio Road in Coolbellup and elsewhere in close proximity to the Roe 8 work site hold grave concerns about the safety of their families: this announcement could be considered laughable, were their plight not so serious,” Ms MacLaren said.

Ms MacLaren said the Government had shown indifference to community concerns, despite widespread asbestos contamination in the Roe 8 project area.

She said homeowners who had reported dust settling on furniture for weeks were now reporting respitory conditions affecting their children.

“Residents have been pleading with the Government for information on the dust clouds which may contain deadly asbestos fibres, Ms MacLaren said.

“Instead of providing information and peace of mind for residents, this Government has now announced new fines of $10,000 for individuals, $50,000 for corporations and on the spot infringements for those caught failing to take appropriate safeguards when disposing of asbestos.

“This is nothing short of ludicrous – it looks like the Premier will be the first to pay hefty fines, under their own new guidelines.”