Concerned Bathurst homeowners can still arrange testing for asbestos

JUST a handful of Bathurst properties have been tested in the NSW Government’s loose-fill asbestos program, as opposed to hundreds in Orange.

Orange was one of the 28 local government areas identified as being affected by loose-fill asbestos when the government launched its Voluntary Purchase and Demolition Program in 2015.

The government extended the limited free sample testing to an additional 35 local government areas, including Bathurst, in June 2016.

The program allows owners whose properties are found to be eligible to have the property sample-tested by a licensed asbestos assessor, free of charge.

Several Bathurst sites have been tested during the period, according to a NSW Fair Trading spokesperson.

“Up to 100 eligible properties in these LGAs are being tested under the program,” the spokesperson said. 

“To date, the testing process has been finalised for three properties within the Bathurst LGA, with no positive results.” 

There were 2472 registrations, meanwhile, in the Orange city local government area as of December 20, 2016, according to NSW Fair Trading.

Of those, 421 tests have been completed and none have confirmed the presence of loose-fill asbestos.

A further 242 registrations will not proceed because they did not meet the eligibility criteria, the registration was withdrawn or it was a duplicate.

Although registrations for free testing have now closed, homeowners can still arrange their own testing using an asbestos assessor licensed by SafeWork NSW.

If the test confirms the presence of loose-fill asbestos, the cost of the test will be refunded and the homeowner will be included in the program.

“Eligible homeowners will have until July 31, 2017 to submit private testing results to NSW Fair Trading and be considered for inclusion in the program,” the spokesperson said.  

Loose fill asbestos was used as insulation in NSW homes during the 1960s and 1970s and homeowners in the identified areas were able to register for the program.

To Bathurst’s east, Lithgow City Council had 1924 test registrations as of December 20, 2016, had 554 tests completed and had three positive results.

Goulburn Mulwaree Council had 4317 test registrations as of December 20, 2016, had 168 tests completed and no positive results.