Hartsuyker: NBN asbestos discussion not a Coalition beat-up

Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker.
Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker.

COWPER MP Luke Hartsuyker has reacted angrily to Lyne counterpart Rob Oakeshott's suggestion the National Broadband Network asbestos issue was a beat-up by the Coalition.

Mr Oakeshott took to Twitter on Sunday to say the "asbestos beat-up on NBN is extraordinary politics".

In Parliament this week Mr Harksuyker took his southern neighbour to task saying the risk was real and families affected would not call it a beat-up.

He has also took the government to task, alleging the issue was emblematic of the management of the NBN rollout.

"Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and NBN Standing Committee chair Rob Oakeshott have failed to ensure that NBN Co has been accountable to the people and answerable to the Parliament," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"They have protected NBN Co at every point and now we have a situation where people's lives are at risk. This is not only a failure of Parliamentary process but it is also an indictment on how our nation has been governed over the past three years."

However, Mr Oakeshott has since had an outpouring of support including from president of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia, Barry Robson, who called the Opposition's attitude a cynical attempt to politicise the issue.

"The Coalition has never helped asbestos victims in all the ttime I have been involved with ADFA," Mr Robson said in a media release.

It has also been widely highlighted that the issue of asbestos in telecommunications pits has been ongoing for many years.

Mr Hartsuyker said in light of the NBN it was not good enough to blame Telstra's prior lack of work to remove the dangerous substance.

"The Government and NBN Co need to come clean about where asbestos has existed and where it has been removed," he said.

"It's simply not good enough to blame Telstra when the asbestos threat extends way beyond its existence in ducts."

Mr Oakeshott has pointed to several occasions when the issue had been brought up in Parliament prior to the NBN project's inception.

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