• 23 FEB 07
    • 0

    #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.

    Stay Tuned…..

    Don

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    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
    callousness”.

    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
    Government.

    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
    proper planning”.

    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.

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