#656: More on the continuing debacle at Toowong
The following was sent in by Sylvie in France who has taken an interest in the Toowong ABC breast cancer story, or as it is shaping up to be, a cover-up. Last I heard the reference committee representing the union and women will be requesting the full ARPANSA ELF report from Dr. Bruce Armstrong.
The Courier Mail (Australia)
February 23, 2007 Friday
First with the news Edition
Bligh on ABC collision course
BYLINE: Rosanne Barrett, Melanie Christiansen
DEPUTY Premier Anna Bligh yesterday sparked a war of
words with the ABC after describing the national
response to a breast cancer cluster at the Brisbane
studios as ”tardy, uncaring and verging on
ABC managing director Mark Scott hit back, accusing Ms
Bligh of being ill-informed and using the ABC as part
of an election-year political attack on the Federal
ABC staff abandoned the ageing site at Toowong, in the
city’s inner west, shortly before Christmas last year
after an independent panel of experts headed by
Professor Bruce Armstrong found the breast cancer rate
there was up to 11 times higher than normal.
Twelve women who worked at the riverside Toowong
office have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the
past 11 years, including eight who work in the
newsroom. ”To put it bluntly, the Federal
Government’s response to the health and safety of
local ABC staff has been tardy, uncaring and verging
on callousness,” Ms Bligh told State Parliament.
Staff have this year been relocated to seven sites in
Brisbane and Sydney.
Placing the blame for the current ”debacle” at the
feet of ABC national executives and ultimately federal
Communications Minister Helen Coonan, Ms Bligh said
the Brisbane studios had been shut down ”without any
She said staff had since been forced to work in unsafe
and sub-standard conditions.
”Frankly, I think the conditions people are working
in are shocking,” Ms Bligh said.
”There are literally hundreds of ABC staff whose
working conditions are putting them at risk in some
cases, but certainly putting them under unreasonable
pressure to get their jobs done.”
With the backing of Premier Peter Beattie, Ms Bligh
demanded Senator Coonan visit the ABC’s Brisbane
operation to see the conditions for herself.
But Mr Scott yesterday angrily rejected the criticism
from Ms Bligh.
”As I understand it, I’m informed that she hasn’t
actually visited any of our sites,” Mr Scott said.