Qld school to stay open despite asbestos

A Brisbane primary school where students were exposed to asbestos will remain open.


Education Minister Kate Jones says all asbestos protocols have been carried out at Holland Park State School, on Brisbane’s southside, to ensure students are safe.

Ms Jones’ reassurances came after two students picked up a piece of asbestos that had been exposed as a result of erosion on a bank on the school’s oval and carried it to the office.

The state’s education department on Thursday refused to confirm reports the two children had to remove their school uniforms so they could be tested for asbestos fibres.

Asbestos was reportedly found on the uniform of one of the children and will be required to undergo tests.

The affected area was cordoned off and asbestos removal firm Parsons Brinckerhoff was called in to make the area safe.

“I am very confident that students at this school are safe to go to school,” Ms Jones said.

Her department’s chief health adviser, Dr Keith Adam, visited the site on Thursday and said there was no need to close the school.

Dr Adam said he was told the children who found the asbestos material had only picked it up and taken it straight to the office, meaning the risk to them was minimal.

“Had someone started hitting it with a hammer or breaking it up – there’s no evidence that’s happened – that’d be the sort of activity I’d be worried about,” he said.

Dr Adam said there was also minimal risk that asbestos fibres were airborne in the school, because the material had only become exposed when it rained.

Nevertheless, opposition education spokesman Tim Mander urged Ms Jones to close the school until parents could be assured their children weren’t at risk.

“It is deeply concerning that this incident has occurred and our students have been exposed to a risk as serious as this,” Mr Mander said.

Ms Jones said all proper procedures had been followed and Mr Mander was scaremongering.

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