Schwarten plays catch up on asbestos

24 Nov 2009 4:25 PMJann Stuckey

24 November 2009

QBUILD workers’ long-term health has been put at risk while Minister Schwarten has procrastinated over appropriate asbestos handling training.

Shadow Minister for Public Works Jann Stuckey MP said she first raised the issue of QBuild training deficiencies two months ago.

“I revealed in September that only 56 per cent of QBuild staff held a Class B asbestos removal licence and called for a higher standard of training,” said Ms Stuckey.

“It’s taken minister Schwarten until today to acknowledge that previous training given to QBuild workers was not good enough and to announce that those handling asbestos will now receive a Class B asbestos removal licence.

Ms Stuckey said asbestos handling training given to QBuild workers still did not meet industry standards.

“One day training sessions and one page training documents introduced in May still aren’t good enough,” she said.

“A Class licences which allow workers to remove friable asbestos materials such as acoustic ceilings and tiles, or thermal insulation for water heaters and pipes still aren’t part of Minister Schwarten’s training program.

“The minister is quick to tell anyone who will listen that he treats asbestos seriously but we only ever hear from him when the opposition points out the deficiencies in his department.

“It’s time he put the lives of QBuild workers above his petty, adversarial politics and provided them with appropriate training to handle these hazardous materials safely.”

Media contact: Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919