Friday, February 29, 2008

Money for birthday junk mail, but not for asbestos disclosure

This week's Northcote Leader ('Red card to pollie', p.3) reports that Northcote MP Fiona Richardson routinely sends birthday cards to people celebrating milestone birthdays in her electorate - whether she knows them or not. The Leader reported a number of public views - including of recipient Pennie Hayes - many of which criticised the wastage and expense of the MP's self-promotional measure.

Yet the real story not covered by the paper is the farcical contrast of Richardson's self-marketing with her failure to ensure the release of adequate public information about the demolition of an asbestos-contaminated public housing estate in Roberts Street Northcote. Despite yesterday's announcement of the demolition contractor and a letterbox announcement that works will soon begin, questions about further testing recommended by an earlier asbestos audit, as well as the release of an asbestos control plan, remain unanswered.

As readers of this blog will be aware, Richardson heads the community advisory committee for the Roberts Street redevelopment.

On 18 January, Richardson and housing minister Richard Wynne were sent ten key questions to which there has been no adequate response. Let's hope that in years to come no-one gets mesothelioma for their birthday because the government has cut corners with asbestos safety.

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