Brisbane school closed over asbestos discovery

Brisbane school closed over asbestos discovery

A historic state school in Brisbane has been closed after asbestos was discovered during excavation works over the weekend as part of construction work at the site.

The asbestos was found at Ashgrove State School in a construction zone that is proximal to classrooms.

A spokesperson for the Queensland Department of Education said that it was common to find asbestos in schools throughout the state that were built prior to the 1990s.

The Department has been working to remove asbestos from schools in recent years, with almost 200 state schools undergoing asbestos removal works in the 2020-21 financial year, which has cost taxpayers more than $13 million.

The spokesperson for the Department did not respond to queries regarding the proximity of the asbestos-containing material to classrooms but explained that it had been “disposed of in line with asbestos protocols and the school community had been informed”.

“The site was fenced off and restricted for student and public access, and a hygienist undertook the removal process which occurred on a weekend outside school hours,” the spokesperson said.

“These precautions were put in place to ensure that all students and staff were kept safely away from the construction site and to minimise the risk of asbestos fibres becoming airborne”.

The Department has said that the incident was managed in line with their asbestos management plan. The school is currently closed, according to school principal Anita Bond, who said that the access to the affected area had already been “restricted and will continue to be secured until it is removed.”

“Work in the outdoor learning area will recommence once the asbestos is removed.”

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