News 10

St. Luke’s Catholic College In Sydney Remains Shut For A Week

St. Luke’s Catholic College in Sydney’s northwest has been forced to shut its doors for a week after finding asbestos-contaminated mulch.

Authorities estimate that approximately 30 cubic metres of mulch have been affected, prompting concerns over student safety.

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According to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the presence of bonded asbestos in mulch has been detected in seven other sites, including:

Domremy College, Five Dock, 

Aldi Supermarket, Cobbitty, 

Riverstone Sports Centre, Riverstone, 

Carlingford-to-Parramatta Shared Path, Telopea, 

Edmondson Park Public School, Edmondson Park, 

Mount Annan Christian College, Currans Hill, 

Trinity Catholic Primary School, Kemps Creek.

“We understand this may be unsettling for these school communities, but these results are expected later today. All schools have made individual risk assessments based on the amount and distribution of mulch onsite,” EPA said.

St. Luke’s Catholic College has made the decision to close for the week with parents being notified.

Murat Dizdar, the Secretary of the Department of Education, expressed the challenges in containing such widespread contamination.

The closure affects around 2,000 students who attend St. Luke’s Catholic College, disrupting their learning schedules for the week. 

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Meanwhile, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has also confirmed asbestos contamination at Penrith Christian School in Orchard Hills, bringing the total count of affected sites in Sydney to 34.

However, not all schools under scrutiny have tested positive for asbestos. International Grammar School in Ultimo and Westmead Christian Grammar School in Westmead both returned negative results. 

Despite the concerning discovery, Secretary Murat Dizdar said that the number of schools requiring testing remains relatively low, with only 12 out of 3,000 schools in the state being affected so far. 

“There’s 12 so far that we’ve worked with, across 3,000 schools … in this state,” he said.

“We’ve written to all our major builders and subcontractors reminding them of our standards,” he said.

Schools with no bonded or friable asbestos detected include International Grammar School in Ultimo, North Sydney Public School in Waverton, St Michael’s Catholic Primary School in Daceyville, and Westmead Christian Grammar School in Westmead.

Three schools are still waiting for results: Edmondson Park Public School, Edmondson Park, Mount Annan Christian College, Currans Hill, Trinity Catholic Primary School, Kemps Creek.

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