New South Wales Acting Premier Andrew Stoner recently announced that he will shut down Mine Road outside Barraba in the northern part of the state because of serious asbestos-related risks.
Mr Stoner stated he met with experts from health care organisations and representatives of the surrounding communities to make the decision, but in the end closing the road was the only way to keep residents and mine workers safe from the harmful effects of asbestos exposure.
The road runs parallel to the dilapidated Woodsreef Asbestos Mine, which is the root of far too many asbestos exposure hazards for anyone to come near it. The mine has many deposits of Chrysotile – white asbestos – that if disturbed could be disastrous for the surrounding community.
"At the end of the day the dangers to public safety outweigh any consideration of keeping the road open," Mr Stoner said in a December 5 media release.
"The areas of processed friable asbestos material stockpiled throughout the mine site and the expert advice received by the Woodsreef Mine Taskforce says that it is unsafe."
Government takes action to keep residents, workers safe
The issue took a turn for the worse when a government inspection team found that tailings material containing asbestos had made its way to the surface of Mine Road. As cars passed, it disturbed the carcinogen and caused it to be airborne – the most dangerous state it can be in.
"It is well known that asbestos in this condition is highly hazardous to human health," Mr Stoner continued.
"The NSW Government is aware that some local residents wish to keep the road open, but it would be remiss of us in our public duty if we took any other course of action."
Mr Stoner gave special mention to Kevin Anderson, a Member for Tamworth and a leader in encouraging the government to take a closer look at the dangerous mine. His efforts led the government to find an alternative route around the mine, potentially keeping many motorists from coming in contact with the dangerous substance.
Those who may have come in contact with asbestos, whether at work or in the home, may want to get in touch with asbestos lawyers to learn what legal options are available.