State government spends more than half a million to remove hazardous asbestos from Redlands schools
REDLAND CITY BULLETIN – April 28 2021 – Jordan Crick
HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars have been spent on removing asbestos materials from Redlands state schools in the last four years, with almost $200,000 dished out on Capalaba State College alone.
Government documents have revealed that a total of $659,871 has been spent as part of a removal program at 10 local primary and high schools since 2017.
The statewide bill since the 2017/18 financial year stands at a whopping $86.81 million, meaning Redlands schools make up less than one per cent of the total spend.
Capalaba State College which has more than 900 students enrolled from prep to grade 12, had $191,193 spent on asbestos removal between 2017 and this year.
Macleay Island State School – which has about 132 students enrolled – and the popular Mount Cotton State School also were among the schools to have asbestos removed from their buildings.
Education Minister Grace Grace said the safety of students, staff and visitors was the department’s highest priority.
“Asbestos containing material was commonly used in building products until the late 1980s,” she said.
“As many Queensland schools were built before 1990, it is not uncommon for ACM to be present in these facilities.”
Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, has a good resistance to high temperatures and was a popular building material in Australia before 1987.
Made up of tiny fibers, asbestos exposure increases the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
A Department of Education spokeswoman said licensed contractors removed asbestos materials outside of school hours to minimise risk to students and staff.
“The department has a rigorous identification and management process for asbestos containing materials ensuring the safety of our students and staff,” she said.
“Any identified asbestos risks in schools are immediately addressed and made safe in accordance with independently verified safe practices.
“Longer term plans, such as removal of ACM, are then implemented in each case in consultation with the school.”
Ms Grace said asbestos that was in good condition and left untouched was relatively low risk.
“To ensure the safety of students and staff, the condition of ACM in departmental facilities is monitored closely through asbestos audits conducted by the Department of Energy and Public Works, QBuild,” she said.
Total spend by school (excluding money spent on asbestos audits):
- Alex Hills State School: $46,598
- Birkdale South State School: $6451
- Capalaba State College: $191,193
- Cleveland District State High School: $117,773
- Cleveland State School: $8807
- Macleay Island State School: $68,774
- Mount Cotton State School: $22,704
- Ormiston State School: $15,846
- Thornlands State School: $8000
- Victoria Point State School: $173,725