'Dangerous' house inspires legislation change push
A "DANGEROUS" abandoned cyclone-ravaged house in Yeppoon could lead to a statewide change in asbestos removal laws.
Livingstone Shire Council has been trying to get Tessa and Karl Maskery, owners of the house on the corner of Ben and Braithwaite streets, to remove asbestos- contaminated debris from the site since Cyclone Marcia destroyed the property in 2015.
The council cannot remove the material as the property does not fall under the current management of asbestos laws.
Currently, if a site is classified as a building or home renovation site, Workplace Health and Safety can order for it to be removed.
Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig said the government and the council were "powerless" to compel owners to collect and dispose of the deadly material if it resulted from natural disasters, age or neglect.
Livingstone council will ask the Local Government Association of Queensland's annual conference to pressure the State Government into amending the Workplace Health and Safety laws so councils have the power to act.
Cr Ludwig said the abandoned Yeppoon house exposed the flaw in the system.
"We believe there is a dispute between the house's owners and the insurer and here we are, almost three years after the cyclone with this situation," he said.
"If it were a building site the government and the council could have a say in ensuring that appropriate measures are taking place regarding the asbestos.
"Because it's not a building site the council is stuck between a rock and a hard place because we don't have the regulatory framework in place to send our people in to do the clean-up."
Cr Ludwig said the State Government needed to "fix the anomaly".
"So that in situations like this, where houses are made of fibro and have an asbestos risk, we need to have the power to force the owner to take action or do the work ourselves then require the owner to pay for those costs," he said.
NewsRegional approached the Maskerys for comment but they did not respond to our request.
The Queensland Government refused to address the concerns raised by the council on this issue.
- For information regarding the health imapacts of asbestos check out Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.