Albany Creek State High School Among Queensland Schools Impacted by Asbestos Discoveries

Over the past year, Queensland state schools, including Albany Creek State High School, have encountered numerous incidents of asbestos discoveries, with nearly 600 reported cases in 2022.

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Out of the 575 reported asbestos incidents in 2022, Ithaca Creek State School in Bardon topped the list with 11 incidents. Additionally, three schools had ten incidents each, namely Mackay State High School, Woody Point Special School, and Woree State School. Meanwhile, Albany Creek State High School experienced two incidents last year.

Other schools in the top ten included Gordonvale State High School, Moorooka State School, Springwood Road State School, Harristown State School, Leichhardt State School, and Mitchelton State High School.

Whilst the 2022 figures indicate a slight decrease in asbestos incidents compared to 2021, the numbers remain higher than those recorded in 2019 and 2020.

In 2019, there were 542 incidents across 297 schools, followed by 568 incidents in 2020 across 302 schools. However, it further rose in 2021, with 740 incidents reported across 354 schools.

According to Education Minister Grace Grace, asbestos discoveries in schools built before the 1990s are not uncommon. The Department of Education acknowledges that with the increase in infrastructure upgrades and flood damage repairs, detecting it is more likely than ever.

She highlighted the importance of managing potential asbestos exposures and emphasised that not all reported cases in the database are confirmed incidents.

The department, she said, has implemented a comprehensive program for the safe management and removal of asbestos in schools. In addition, the government is investing in various initiatives such as the Cooler Cleaner Schools Program, the Advancing Clean Energy Schools solar panel program, and the Schools Refresh Program.

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Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, was once widely utilised in construction and various products worldwide. The presence of undamaged asbestos in buildings where people work or study does not pose an immediate danger.

However, individuals who frequently engage in activities such as repairs and renovations that could release asbestos fibres into the air are at a higher risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. It particularly becomes hazardous to health when its fibres become airborne and are inhaled into the lungs.

Published 14-May-2023