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Monday, 3 June 2013
Page: 4890


Mr IRONS (Swan) (21:48): I rise to update the House on some local issues in my electorate of Swan. In 2010 I started a campaign to attract the AFL West Coast Eagles to relocate their training and administration base to Lathlain Oval to coincide with the new Burswood stadium being built in my electorate of Swan. Since then I have worked closely with West Coast Eagles CEO, Trevor Nisbett, and am pleased to report to the parliament that progress is being made with Lathlain Park one of five sites being seriously considered by the Eagles. It is a good option.

As a former WAFL footballer for the East Perth Football Club, a former board member and former director of junior development and a current patron of the Perth Football Club, I want to see Lathlain become a key centre for sporting and community infrastructure in Perth. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Lathlain area and for the Perth Football Club. In my capacity as the local MP for Swan I support this option, as do many others. My feedback is that the Town of Victoria Park council is 100 per cent supportive of this, as well as the Demons, the Perth Football Club.

I note there was concern early in the year when the WA Labor Party announced a policy to scrap the Burswood stadium if it won the March election. This was embarrassing for the Labor MLA who had strongly supported the stadium and even had photos with the Premier and Mayor of Victoria Park showing his support. However, following the re-election of the WA Liberals the stadium will definitely go ahead at Burswood and I will continue to support the Eagles option for Lathlain.

Another Lathlain specific issue I will highlight is the vacant Red Castle Hotel. The site had become a place for squatters and problems reported included drug use and threatening behaviour in the neighbourhood. Following calls from residents I worked with the local police and the Town of Victoria Park to secure the property. Residents are clearly fed up with the lack of progress towards redevelopment of this site and want to see action to progress it. The previous developer decided not to proceed and to sell the site in January this year after the council put dozens of conditions on the redevelopment proposal. The property sale is now in the process of being settled. I hope the new owners do something with the site sooner rather than later that suits everyone, as it is quite an eyesore. This is a serious issue for many of the residents in Lathlain.

The last issue I will touch on—and it has made national headlines over the past week—is asbestos exposure and the NBN. I first raised this issue in February and wrote to Syntheo after a constituent from Victoria Park in my electorate sent my office two photographs of Syntheo subcontractors removing an asbestos pit. I would now like to quote from an article that appeared in The Australian on 27 February, by Annabel Hepworth:

NBN Co is undertaking its own investigation into concerns raised by a West Australian household with a Liberal MP that asbestos might have been released during works on the rollout of the $37.4 billion network.

Liberal MP Steve Irons wrote to the chief executive of Syntheo - one of the National Broadband Network construction partners - after a household in Victoria Park, in inner-southeastern Perth, took two photographs they said were of a worker breaking down an old Telstra pit with a mash hammer while wearing latex gloves and a protective face mask—

while his colleague worked nearby without a mask or any protective clothing at all. It continues:

Mr Irons wrote that his constituents were concerned at "the potential liberation of asbestos spores into the air".

Syntheo is conducting detailed investigations.

NBN Co spokeswoman Rhonda Griffin said the company and its contractors took these matters "very seriously", and the company was also liaising with Comcare in WA as it, too, had been contacted by Mr Irons.

"We fully support further investigations by the proper authorities given that the two still photographs supplied are open to interpretation," Ms Griffin said.

Town of Victoria Park chief executive Arthur Kyron said that after Mr Irons's office made a complaint about the breaking up of a pit that might have contained asbestos, an environmental health officer saw no obvious signs of asbestos products. Laboratory tests showed a "minute trace" of asbestos in one sample, but the asbestos was not a danger in this form if properly maintained.

"We found no connection between this tiny amount and the activities of the NBN contractor. This particular pit was being constructed adjacent to an asbestos fence in the area."

The fact is, it was an asbestos pit. The NBN Co. spokeswoman, Rhonda Griffin, and the Town of Victoria Park need to look seriously at their response to those issues. As yet, I have not had a reply from Comcare. (Time expired)