Blue Mountains News

Blue Mountains Council Acts on Asbestos Report Recommendations

Source: Blue Mountains City Council
Archived 5 May 2018 - Posted: 7 Mar 2018
Blue Mountains City Council has responded to the Sun Herald article ‘Asbestos crisis as damning report reveals failures to protect workers', on the findings of a report on the Council’s independent investigation into asbestos management.

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The Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said the first interim report, “Asbestos Management at Lawson Carpark, Lawson Mechanics Institute and Lawson Depot – February 2018", by industry expert Mr Michael Tooma of Clyde & Co., was the product of an independent investigation into asbestos management initiated by the elected Council.

“I called for this report as soon as I knew there was a serious issue with asbestos management,”  the Mayor said. “We are now acting on the report to address those issues.”

“It is important that we know what happened and why,” he said. “Safety is paramount,” he said. “My primary concern is to ensure the health, safety and well being of our workforce and our community. I, along with the leadership of the Council will stop at nothing to unearth the facts of the matter and where necessary, rectify them.”

The Mayor said the report is detailed, comprehensive and by anyone’s measure, searingly honest. “Any doubts that this report would be suitably honest just can’t hold,” he said.

“As I soon I received the report I arranged an urgent briefing of councillors, sent a copy to the NSW Government and put the report before the elected council for acceptance and action.”

The report includes Mr Tooma's findings on the matters put before him and makes a number of recommendations. The recommendations identify the need for significant improvements in the policies and procedures of the Council.

“We are implementing all of the recommendations,” the Mayor said. “Mr Tooma’s work is crucial. We are addressing all matters raised. In the interest of all of our workers, we are currently seeking legal advice on the findings within the report relating to the handling of asbestos,”  he said.

The report recommendations do not adversely mention the elected Councillors as the governing body of the Council.

“The investigation was to leave no stone unturned to find out what has happened in the past so we can make sure any failings do not happen again,”  the Mayor said.

“We have said all along, if mistakes have been made we want to know how they happened and to learn from them. If anything has not been managed properly we want it fixed. That is exactly what we are doing.”

The Mayor said that Mr Tooma has a range of other reports to do in relation to this investigation. “I want them to be as hard hitting and painfully honest as this one. The only way that these problems will be fixed is if the relevant facts come out,” he said.

"This goes further than asbestos management. It is also about organisational culture. I want to make sure workers feel they can speak out and can raise concerns about safety in the workplace.”

“There is no doubt that Council, like all councils in NSW, has a significant challenge in managing asbestos in our City,” the Mayor said. “We continue to demonstrate our commitment to managing asbestos as an absolute priority. Implementing the recommendations of the Tooma report reaffirms this commitment to manage asbestos and our commitment to the safety of our workers and community.”

 
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