MULTIPLE errors made by WestCONnex in the removal of asbestos from a home being demolished in Brown St, St Peters, have potentially exposed dozens of residents and workers to the deadly substance.
Local residents have spent weeks making numerous complaints about the unsafe removal of asbestos from the Brown St home to the Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC), Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Safework NSW, and the Department of Planning and Environment.
On 20 January, a resident who reported unsafe removal of asbestos fibro from the home to SMC also told them fibro had been left on the south and front walls. SMC assured him in writing that this fibro did not contain “any hazardous material”.
But on 10 February, SMC told another resident by email that workers would “remove asbestos-containing material on the southern wall” that day. On 11 February, residents contacted SMC after noticing fibro on the front wall had been left behind.
Then on 14 February, St Peters resident Tamara Regan told WestCONnex Action Group (WAG): “I’d just got home from work and heard a massive crash. I raced out and saw a bulldozer ripping the eaves off the verandah.
“I couldn't believe it. I’d just spoken to the demolition workmen. I’d told them there was still asbestos on the property, because it was the same material as the fibro that had asbestos.
“I kept telling the workers it was asbestos and they laughed at me. It was only when they realised I was filming that they stopped work, rolled out asbestos tape, and put on protective gear. It was a really windy day, but they proceeded to remove the asbestos without sealing off the affected area,” said Ms Regan.
The incident is WestCONnex’s second potentially deadly breach in St Peters in less than a week. On Saturday, emergency services were forced to clear iron roofing and debris that had blown into the road from another WestCONnex home demolition site.
“We’re now receiving multiple reports a day from residents about breaches of basic health and safety, environmental and traffic laws by WestCONnex,” said WAG spokesperson Pauline Lockie, who lived at the Brown St home before it was forcibly acquired for WestCONnex.
“What’s really shocking about this potentially deadly incident is that residents had been telling the relevant authorities for weeks that it was likely to happen.
“Even now that it looks like a catastrophic error has been made, work hasn’t been shut down, and no one at WestCONnex has been held accountable.
“It’s time for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to step in and protect people’s safety by halting this work and conducting a full review into WestCONnex,” said Ms Lockie.
Media contacts: Janet Dandy-Ward 0411 633 676, Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106
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