Dumped asbestos on Buccaneer Avenue.
Dumped asbestos on Buccaneer Avenue.

‘Start saving’: Family gets verdict on dumped asbestos

A family may have to spend more than $20,000 cleaning up dumped asbestos on its vacant block in Yeppoon, despite Livingstone Shire Council reducing its disposal fee.

Ben Carew and Claire Palmer, who live in Brisbane, were left with a "huge financial impost" when the council told them in December last year that potentially toxic material had been left on their land on Buccaneer Avenue in Lammermoor.

Councillors decided at a meeting in January to decline a request from the family to reduce or waive the disposal fees of $11,000.

This Tuesday, however, Councillor Andrea Friend moved motions to repeal that resolution and reduce the fee by half, making it an estimated $5,490 for the disposal of 60 cubic metres of asbestos.

In a letter to the council's acting CEO Brett Bacon, Ms Friend wrote: "A 50 per cent reduction in this fee would assist in the timely clean-up of this family-owned property.

"Compassion and empathy should always be backed up by action and not just kind words."

Dumped material on the vacant lot.
Dumped material on the vacant lot.

Nevertheless, Ms Palmer said that based on a private quote, excavation alone would cost $13,000, and the council's disposal fee could increase depending on the final measured weight of the dumped material.

Fencing to prevent further dumping, she said, would cost $12,000.

Ms Palmer said she was grateful for Ms Friend's help and the council's decision, but she would still have to shoulder a heavy burden.

"There is no one looking for the perpetrators," she said, "so it will happen again and could happen again to our block, or anyone else's block without consequence.

"The handling of our case has been poorly done by council from the beginning and has caused us a lot of stress.

"We will have to start saving the over $20,000 for removal and approximately $12,000 for fencing. That could take some time.

"As per a conversation I had with the environmental officer, our land may be put on a register of land containing asbestos even if we remove it, which will devalue the land."


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