TOXIC FIND: Plaza owners respond to union shut down claim

UPDATE 5.25PM: Sunshine Plaza owner Lendlease says three of the 30 areas where construction is occurring at its Maroochydore redevelopment have closed down.

It came after a Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union officer said earlier today the site had been closed down.

A Lendlease spokeswoman said an exclusion zone had been set up at its construction site after a discovery earlier today.

"A small amount of sheeting material was found during redevelopment works at Sunshine Plaza," a Lendlease spokeswoman said.

"The material has been removed by a specialist contractor in accordance with strict regulatory requirements. 

"As a precautionary measure, we have established an exclusion zone to protect workers and the local community and we take this matter extremely seriously."

The spokeswoman said the remaining 27 construction areas were open and works were continuing as usual.

EARLIER: Works have stopped on the Lend Lease Sunshine Plaza project after possible asbestos was discovered on site this morning. 

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union local organisers were called to the site this morning after workers made the discovery.

Samples have been collected from the site and will be sent off for independent testing at a NATA accredited laboratory.

CFMEU OHS co-ordinator Andrew Ramsay said that the discovery was highly concerning as the site is next door to a  primary school.

"When asbestos containing materials are broken and crushed the deadly asbestos fibres become airborne," he said.

"In this day and age with the level of awareness about the dangers of asbestos, there is no excuse for workers and members of the public to be exposed.

"Due to the location of this site and its proximity to shops, cafes and local schools who knows how many members of the public could have potentially been exposed."

Maroochydore State School principal Stuart Maish said on Wednesday afternoon he was unaware of the possible asbestos discovery.

His school borders the north-western edge of the construction site.

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