Work on the new $3.1 million Aramac Primary Healthcare Centre will start this week following

the successful removal of asbestos-containing material from the work site.

Central West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Jane Hancock said the asbestos

remediation works on the new health facility site had been completed sooner than expected.

“This is exciting for the health service and the Aramac community as we will now be able to get

started on building our new, state of the art health centre,’’ she said.

Ms Hancock said the asbestos remediation works had involved the removal from the site by an

expert contractor under established safety protocols of surface soil to the depth of 100 mm.

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

“Initially, we had not expected the work to be completed until later this month (July).

“However, the contractors have been able to complete the work successfully and ahead of time,

which means we can now get started on building our new facility.

“The new health centre should now be finished by November, weather permitting.’’

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.

Work on the construction of the new Aramac PHCC was delayed after the discovery of loose

surface fragments of asbestos-containing material on the site in early March.

The area was immediately cordoned off and an expert consultant commissioned to undertake a

full investigation of the entire Aramac PHCC site.

Ms Hancock said the 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.

“The mere presence of asbestos-containing material does not constitute a public health risk if

people are not exposed to airborne fibres.

“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 showed, there is absolutely no evidence of any risk to

public health as no airborne fibres were detected, as well as no evidence of buried quantities of

material.’’

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 later this year of a brand new health facility that will

serve the local community well for many years to come,’’ she said.

ENDS