City Hub

EXCLUSIVE: Asbestos found in Waterloo Green public housing

One of the Waterloo Green high-rises, where work is underway to seal in asbestos. Photo by Paul Gregoire


City Hub can exclusively reveal that the six high-rise public housing buildings located at Waterloo Green contain asbestos.

The hazardous material was found to be decaying in sealing joints around windows.

A tenant from the Marton building on Cope Street approached City Hub after a contractor told her the building would not be waterproofed as it was riddled with asbestos.

But, the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LHC), which is part of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), has affirmed it is in the process of  replacing window joint sealers in all buildings.

“The Land and Housing Corporation is currently undertaking work to replace window joint sealers in Waterloo Green to help fix water leaks,” a FACS spokesperson said.

“Traces of asbestos may be found in the sealing material around the windows during this work and the accepted industry standard is to either remove the material or to cover and encase the material.”

Public housing tenant Ross Smith said that although asbestos is present, he does not believe it is a health concern.

Mr Smith also argued that while the contractor did have the equipment to remove asbestos, LHC took the cheaper way out.

“The property owner took the short-term, cheap option against the long-term, better value option,” he said.

The anonymous Marton building tenant said she suffers from cancer and is concerned about the effects of asbestos on her condition.

“I can’t imagine how just sealing it over somewhere would be sufficient. They’re drilling stuff as they’re sealing and I know that drilling compromises the integrity of it,” the tenant said.

City of Sydney Greens councillor Irene Doutney says asbestos is a common problem in public housing and believes that the only way to address the problem is removing it.

“I would have thought knowing the terrible consequences of even a small amount of asbestos being released [would mean] that the optimum solution would always be to remove asbestos if possible,” Cr Doutney said.

“I think the evidence is in on the effects of asbestos and the fatal effects it can have on people many years after their initial contamination.”

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