23 February 2024

UPDATED: Tumut health precinct under investigation for potentially contaminated mulch

| Edwina Mason
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opening of ambulance station

The newly operational, state-of-the-art ambulance station opened in June 2023 on the site of Tumut Hospital. Photo: RAIR.

UPDATED February 23: The EPA has reported both sites at Tumut Health Precinct have now returned negative results for asbestos.

February 20: Testing is underway to determine whether mulch delivered to Tumut’s new ambulance station and the town’s hospital is contaminated with asbestos.

According to independent Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr, about 30 square metres of mulch was delivered to the ambulance station and staff accommodation units near the hospital by a supplier who previously sourced mulch from the company at the centre of contamination cases at multiple sites in Sydney.

It is not yet known whether the mulch at Tumut contains asbestos or whether it has any direct connection to the company, but the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is testing the material as a precautionary measure.

The site has been taped off and no public access is allowed while the testing continues.

Dr McGirr has asked the NSW Government to ensure the Tumut community is kept fully informed of progress on the testing.

“While the potential for asbestos contamination in mulch at Tumut is obviously of significant concern, it’s important to note that the testing is precautionary at this stage,” Dr McGirr said.

“I’m working closely with the Health Department and EPA to ensure that the results of that testing are made available to the community as soon as possible and have been advised that the testing has been fast-tracked and the results should be provided late this week.

“In the meantime, members of the public should avoid the site and follow all safety precautions.

“Health authorities hope this will prove to be a low-risk situation that has no connection with the company involved in the contamination issue, but the testing and site isolation is being undertaken out of an abundance of caution to minimise any potential risk to the Tumut community.”

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The newly operational, state-of-the-art ambulance station opened in June 2023 on the site of Tumut Hospital, which was officially opened in October 2022.

The location of the station within the site of the $50 million Tumut Hospital redevelopment provided a centralised health hub, allowing faster access to the hospital as well as enhanced communication and coordination between health providers.

It formed part of the NSW Government’s Rural Ambulance Infrastructure Reconfiguration (RAIR) program.

Original Article published by Edwina Mason on About Regional.

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