A storm cloud filled with bad news hung over the National Broadband Network this week, with asbestos fears and the death of a contractor marring the roll-out of the multi-billion dollar fibre network.
NBN Co’s problems started earlier in the week when it was revealed that Telstra contractors who had been performing operations on pits in the west of Sydney had been improperly handling the dangerous cancer-causing substance known as asbestos. Bags of asbestos were reportedly dumped near schools and nearby homes before Telstra and NBN Co were tipped off about the issues.
Telstra has accepted responsibility for the issues before putting an extra 200 qualified workers on to oversee the removal of asbestos. Even the Prime Minister commented on it in Question Time this week.
Coalition Senators used the asbestos scare as a rod to beat NBN Co executive Mike Quigley with during Senate Estimates this week, which is always a colourful exchange.
And sad late-breaking news this week involving the NBN: reports are emerging that a concrete contractor was crushed between two trucks and on an NBN work site in Kiama. The man was fatally injured and pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. It’s the first and hopefully last fatality involving the National Broadband Network roll-out, and our deepest sympathies go out to the contractor’s family.