The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

DIRTY PRICE OF ICE Lab clean-ups so costly

- MATTHEW KILLORAN

CLEAN­ING up clan­des­tine meth and ice labs in so­cial hous­ing is cost­ing Queens­land taxpayers up to $200,000 a year.

Lives are at risk un­less clean-ups are done to re­move all trace of the deadly chem­i­cals, cost­ing as much as $46,000 a pop.

Swab tests have to be con­ducted each clean-up be­fore new ten­ants can move in to en­sure noth­ing has been left be­hind.

State Gov­ern­ment es­ti­mates hear­ings this week were told there were 26 clan­des­tine meth or ice lab­o­ra­to­ries or other drug-re­lated in­ci­dents dis­cov­ered in so­cial hous­ing in 2014-15.

Hous­ing Min­is­ter Leeanne Enoch said it cost $151,000 to clean up that year.

While some works cost $723 for mi­nor jobs in­volv­ing the re­moval of drug para­pher­na­lia, oth­ers cost much more.

“In some in­stances where we had to un­der­take re­me­di­a­tion works for a drug lab, that has been up to $46,272 for a prop­erty,” Ms Enoch told the hear­ing.

Op­po­si­tion hous­ing spokesman Rob Mol­hoek said he feared the prob­lem was get­ting

worse. “If there’s chem­i­cals that have soaked into the floors from a past ten­ant and you’ve got a baby or tod­dler crawl­ing around, you never know what they’re go­ing to pick up or in­gest,” he said. “The key is to make sure cleanups are done well so chil­dren’s lives aren’t put at risk.”

Ms Enoch said illegal ac­tiv­ity was never tol­er­ated in so­cial hous­ing.

“When the po­lice have in­formed the depart­ment or when depart­ment of­fi­cers have any sus­pi­cion of that kind of ac­tiv­ity, we can move di­rectly to evic­tion,” she said.

THE KEY IS TO MAKE SURE CLEAN-UPS ARE DONE WELL SO

KIDS’ LIVES AREN’T AT RISK

ROB MOL­HOEK

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