Monday, April 15, 2024

NSW taskforce to investigate hundreds of potential sites contaminated by asbestos-ridden mulch

The creation of the taskforce followed Premier Chris Minns saying the number of properties impacted could be in the hundreds.

“I’m sorry to say but the truth of the matter is the number of properties can be very large right across Sydney,” he said.

“Not every place, not every project, park [contact traced] has tested positive to asbestos but to lock every single park up or school or hospital would be beyond our resources right now.”

Greenlife Resource Recovery.

Greenlife Resource Recovery. Credit: Max Mason-Hubers

On Wednesday, City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore announced the shut down of the popular Mardi Gras Fair Day event site at Victoria Park after the discovery of bonded asbestos.

Efforts are underway to remove the mulch, which was found underneath multiple trees and on garden beds across the park.


Belmore Park near Central Station also tested positive for bonded asbestos, while Harmony Park in Surry Hills was found to contain the more dangerous friable asbestos. Friable asbestos is more easily crushed into a powder, and therefore easier to become airborne.

Meanwhile, students at Liverpool West Public School won’t be able to return to their classrooms for weeks after the discovery of bonded asbestos on the school grounds.

This week students have returned to COVID-era learning from home and next week will join the nearby Gulyangarri Public School while remediation works take place.

Campbelltown Hospital, a park in Emu Plains and multiple Transport for NSW sites also have tested positive for asbestos in mulch since the original discovery at Rozelle Parklands in January.

Greenlife Resource Recovery, the supplier connected to all sites which have tested positive, has launched legal action against a NSW EPA’s prevention order stopping them from supplying mulch.

Ross Fox, the company’s lawyer who previously worked in the Office of Environment and Heritage, told this masthead the company was being “made a scapegoat for failures in a complex supply chain for construction and landscaping projects”.

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