Asbestos clean-up continues next to Altona North childcare centre

Workers removing asbestos next to the Altona North childcare centre on Friday. Photo: Goya Dmytryshchak

By Goya Dmytryshchak

Workers in protective clothing on Friday continued removing asbestos next to an Altona North childcare centre, two weeks after it was first revealed.

WorkSafe Victoria is investigating after the asbestos was left exposed at the Millers Road construction site next to the Early Learners centre.

The asbestos was discovered on land being developed by the Greek Orthodox Community of Hobsons Bay.

An official from the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union spotted the asbestos while visiting another worksite.

The union’s Victorian occupational health and safety unit manager Gerry Ayers said the childcare centre had been told not to let children play outside.

“We have advised the management of the childcare centre next door that children should not play outside until further notice,” he said.

“And that they register their potential asbestos exposure through the national asbestos, dust, fumes and chemicals register.

“In this day and age, it is atrocious …knowingly exposing preschool children to this toxic hazard just beggars belief.”

Project manager of the Greek community centre redevelopment, Dale Harrison, said the issue was “a storm in a teacup”.

“There was some small pieces of asbestos found but it’s all non-friable so it just can’t be airborne,” he said.

“We’ve tested all of the air, we’ve tested all of the soil, everything’s fine, everything’s covered up.”

WorkSafe confirmed it is investigating.

“WorkSafe has visited the site to ensure the removal of any asbestos containing materials is appropriately managed,” a spokesman said.

Early Learners was contacted for comment.