29 May 2013

Bad news for the NBN – asbestos fears prompt Telstra audit

Fears have arisen that several hundred residents and school children surrounding the construction of the NBN have been exposed to deadly asbestos fibres.  On Monday, the Australian Financial Review revealed that workers on the project were storing plastic bags full of asbestos just 20 metres from Mount Clear Primary School in Victoria. This has led to Telstra announcing an audit of the asbestos handling procedures of all staff and contractors involved in removing the deadly fibres from Telstra’s infrastructure. Other complaints of incorrect procedures throughout the rollout include:
  • A complaint in Tasmania where the Communications, Electrical Pluming Union protested that workers had not received adequate training in asbestos removal.
  • An incident in Penrith where two families were forced to evacuate after the area was contaminated with asbestos following Testra pits being prepared for the NBN.
Telstra have now stopped all work until the audit is completed on Friday. They are confident that the audit will not affect the NBN rollout timetable.