Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:45): My question is to the Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services. Is the minister aware of asbestos in Riverland flood barriers and, if so, when was he advised of this? Has the public been informed and has the asbestos been disposed of? With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will explain.
Mr PEDERICK: The opposition has been advised that fragments of asbestos were found by emergency services personnel in two DefenCell barriers, but that Riverland residents were not warned of the discovery nor the dangers of asbestos.
The Hon. J.K. SZAKACS (Cheltenham—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services) (14:46): I thank the member for his question. The 'member for Hammond' would be the correct way to refer to him, not contrary to the standing orders, as he did for the minister for promoting mining in this state.
I would have to inform the member that there were two distinct small asbestos sheets found in that fill. That fill was brought into the site out of the Loveday borrow pit from the Berri Barmera Council. At the time, I am advised that all appropriate agencies were immediately notified per regulation noting that the SES is, particularly amongst emergency services, an expert when it comes to dealing with asbestos. Effectively, any emergency, any flood damage, any storm damage that the SES responds to may have a chance, in fact often does have asbestos present.
SafeWork SA and the EPA were notified immediately, as were all personnel on site. I am not advised that there weren't further public modifications made, because there is simply and definitively no public danger. There are no public concerns, and nor would there be any both requisite nor reason to make further notifications outside those notifications I referred to appropriate agencies.
I am further advised that the decanting of that particular DefenCell that contains that product has not taken place yet. That is a matter for the Berri Barmera Council but, as of this morning I think was the last information that I had, that hadn't taken place yet. I can advise the member, though, that the guidance and the advice around that is being done in direct conjunction between the council and the EPA.
The decision that has been made because of that consultation, and safe disposal of this soil in question, is that the entire strip of that DefenCell in that region has been considered to be necessary for proper disposal to a licensed asbestos dumping site. That will be taking place at the Cambrai infill, managed by the Mid Murray Council. I am not advised exactly when that will be occurring but I will undertake outside this chamber to keep the member informed, as it is close not only to his portfolio but also to his electorate.
I can also advise the member, even though this wasn't the subject of his question, that the soil that was brought in from that Loveday borrow pit was contained to this site in question at Lake Bonney. No soil from that site subject to these considerations or concerns were deployed anywhere else for operations. So that is, definitively no concerns on any other site exist because the soil did not come from that site to any other operations. Notwithstanding that, I commend the work that the council, the SES and the EPA are continuing to do to ensure that this is disposed of safely, as the SES and the council do so often with any other site that has concerns around asbestos.