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Telstra Hit by Asbestos Contamination Scare

Australia’s Telstra has appointed a group of independent advisers to investigate claims that the company has dumped asbestos contaminated waste in public waste centres.

The company has been ripping out a large quantity of old ducting and pipes as it upgrades its network for the National Broadband Network, and it has been claimed that these contained asbestos that wasn’t then dealt with correctly. The allegations suggest that both employees and members of the public could have been exposed to asbestos dust.

Reacting to the reports, Telstra Chief Operating Officer Brendon Riley said PriceWaterhouseCoopers would work as the company’s independent advisers to help review Telstra systems and processes.

Mr Riley said Executive Director of Telstra Network Construction, John Gibbs, would oversee all asbestos management activities, including current compliance and outcomes from last week’s contractor audits.

Telstra will meet Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, with Federal department, union and NBN Co. representatives in Canberra tomorrow to support a broader coordinated approach to asbestos management in Australia.

Telstra last week announced a new field workforce of up to 200 specialists to directly inspect and supervise all asbestos-related remediation work as well as mandatory Telstra-designed training for all contractors and sub-contractors.

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