[singlepic id=214 w=320 h=240 float=left]Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt has given an undertaking to work with the Edmonton group of the State Emergency Service (SES) to address asbestos concerns at its headquarters.

Mr Pitt said the site had been in Council hands since it was acquired following the closure of the Hambledon Mill in 1991, and the Edmonton SES group had made several buildings their base since this time.

“I’m advised that the building has been on the asbestos register list since 2007 and a problem related to asbestos floor tiles has been addressed previously,” Mr Pitt said.

“It appears that the main problem is with the building’s ceiling tiles and there are also some residual problems with asbestos floor tiles.

“As soon as I was made aware of these latest concerns, I contacted the office of Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts to look at the options available to repair or replace the facility.

“I’ve also invited Minister Roberts to inspect the building during his next visit to the Far North.

“I’m giving an undertaking that I’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with Cairns Regional Council to sort this issue out and work to secure a long term base of operations for the Edmonton SES group.

“The health and safety of our emergency services volunteers has to be our number one priority.”

Mr Pitt said the Council would assess the extent of the asbestos problem and provide advice on how to best deal with the situation.

“It’s important that a strategy be implemented as soon as possible to allow any necessary work to be completed before the next wet season – obviously a very busy time for the local SES,” Mr Pitt said.

“Once the Council has identified the best way forward, I will support them in seeking assistance from the State Government.

“Edmonton local controller Marilyn George and all volunteers at Edmonton are continuing fundraising efforts to improve their facilities and I’d encourage the community to get behind them.

“The local community need to support the people who support them in their time of need.

“I understand that Emergency Management Queensland is working with the Edmonton SES group closely on their fundraising efforts.”

Mr Pitt said the management of asbestos was a priority for the Bligh Government.

“The Government has a good track record of working on these problems where these have been identified,” Mr Pitt said.

“For example, the management of asbestos in schools, including identification and removal, is an ongoing process and the Department of Public Works is developing a whole of Government response to this issue.

“The presence of asbestos does not represent a public health risk if people are not exposed to airborne fibres or the material is not damaged or disturbed.”

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