• 07 JUL 08
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    #904: New ABC Site found to be too radioactive

    New ABC site too radioactive

    By Darren Cartwright

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23981701-1248,00.html

    July 07, 2008 03:20pm
    Article from: The Courier-Mail

    THE ABC has abandoned a new site for its Brisbane headquarters after discovering it was too radioactive.

    The national broadcaster was intending to build new headquarters on a site in Newstead after it had to abandon its Toowong riverfront offices last year after a study confirmed breast cancer rates among females staff at 11 times the normal level.

    Since the mid-1990s, 15 women who worked at Toowong have developed the disease.

    The ABC had secured 3800sqm of land but has lodged Supreme Court documents to stop the sale.

    Staff were informed of the latest decision via an email from managing director Mark Scott.

    “At the time I said that the ABC intended to be a leader in the community for best environmental practice when it comes to the design and work practice of this new facility, and as a starting point we had specified that the site itself must meet the highest environmental standards before settlement could take place,” he wrote to staff.

    “Recently, following completion of site remediation work, the ABC discovered the possibility of radioactive contamination affecting parts of the site. Further investigation revealed elevated levels of radiation above the naturally occurring background levels.

    “The existence of any elevated levels of radiation is of great concern to the ABC. The breast cancer cluster among staff who worked at the former ABC studios at Toowong, and the evacuation of those studios as a result of those health concerns, is well known.

    “Consequently the ABC has today terminated the contract of sale on the Newstead land and commenced action in the Supreme Court in Queensland to vindicate our position.”

    Mr Scott said the decision had not been taken lightly but the health and wellbeing of staff over the next several decades was of upmost concern.

    He said the design work already done could be transferred to another site and management would begin work immediately on identifying a new site.

    The ABC’s main newsroom is currently at temporary quarters at the Network Ten studios on Mount Coot-Tha, while other staff have been scattered around six other locations.

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