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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