Work on the removal of loose fragments of asbestos-containing material found lying on the
surface in parts of the Aramac Primary Healthcare Centre precinct will get under way from 29
May.

Central West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Jane Hancock said the work would
be undertaken by an expert contractor under established protocols for the removal of such
materials.

She said the work was expected to be completed by late July, after which work on the
construction of the new $3.1 million Aramac health facility would be able to start.

“Given this timeline, we now expect the delayed work on the new Aramac primary healthcare
centre to be finished by December this year,’’ she said.

Ms Hancock said surface soil to the depth of about 100 mm would be removed from the
proposed new primary health care site.

She said the remediation work would involve the removal of some trees.

“All excavated material will then be trucked to Townsville for appropriate disposal,’’ she said.

Ms Hancock said an expert investigation of the site had found no evidence of any quantities of
asbestos-containing material having been buried or dumped on the site in the past.

“Monitoring of air quality levels across the entire area while test pits were dug and the
investigation carried out also showed the surrounding air quality was entirely within normal
guidelines,’’ she said.

Ms Hancock said she would like to thank the Aramac community for its patience while the
matter was resolved.

“We can now look forward to the completion this year of a brand new health facility that will
serve the local community well for many years to come,’’ she said.

“We will continue to update the community as the situation progresses.’’
Once completed, the new Aramac primary healthcare centre will include three consultation
rooms, a treatment room and a resuscitation bay, as well as storage and office space.

The loose pieces of asbestos-containing material were first found in early March during a walkthrough
of the empty lot on which the proposed new health facility was to be built.

The area was immediately cordoned off and an expert consultant commissioned to undertake a
full investigation of the entire Aramac PHCC site.

“The mere presence of asbestos-containing material does not constitute a public health risk if
people are not exposed to airborne fibres,’’ Ms Hancock said.

“Even weathered asbestos cement products do not release significant amounts of airborne
fibres unless the material is significantly disturbed.

“As the air-monitoring conducted on site has shown, there is absolutely no evidence of any risk
to public health as no airborne fibres have been detected, as well as no evidence of buried
quantities of material.’’

• Anyone with any concerns can contact Central West Health Chief Executive Jane Hancock
on 0412 744 357 for further information.

ENDS