Thursday, April 3, 2008

Housing continues its slack public disclosure

You wouldn't know from the Office of Housing's Roberts Street website that asbestos removal works started on the site yesterday. As of about 6.00pm tonight, the site still showed that works had been delayed, even though they'd updated the site yesterday to put the control plan up. The bureaucrats may just be slow, but for community members who have only recently become aware of the issue, a Google search will deliver the site as the top search result and they will consequently be misled about what's going on in their local neighbourhood.

Slow web updates aside, what you also can't expect from the Office of Housing, housing minister, Richard Wynne, and Northcote MP Fiona Richardson is any kind of explanation about why they directed or were prepared to allow works to proceed on such a windy day. I have sent WorkSafe a link to my video taken in yesterday's extreme conditions and have requested their response to the issues I believe it raises. At the very least, the video provides quite reasonable grounds for concern and valid questions in the public interest.

Add to that the start of the works just days after the government's only public meeting on asbestos safety in the project, the lack of any commitment to release the results of further testing, let alone the results of air monitoring (including for yesterday), and you can clearly see that the poor public disclosure on this project results in as few people as possible becoming fully informed about what is going on.

The good news is that the YouTube videos made of the site are reaching a few people courtesy of this blog (55 views for the first video and 13 for the second as of this writing). To see an update on viewer numbers, have a look at my YouTube video profile page Viewers who happen to find the videos independently at YouTube are also directed to further information on this site and to my email to ensure they have the full details, can ask questions, or leave comments – whether they agree with me or not. How long will it take Housing to get its far better resourced website up-to-date?

As usual, questions, comments and debate are most welcome.

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Comments are most welcome on any of the posts at Northcote Independent. I encourage feedback - positive or negative. Feel free to disagree, but remember that posts are moderated to ensure they are on the topic and in the spirit of open debate, as outlined in my editorial policy.