Department of Housing tenant poisoned by CO in NSW

Caroline Merkel and her son have have been living in the same public housing home for almost 25 years and in all that time the gas heater had never been serviced. After feeling unwell and noticing the CO awareness campaign on TV, Caroline called the public housing office several times for her heater to be serviced. Finally when the heater was serviced, the plumber recorded three times the normal level of carbon monoxide in her home and removed the heater. They are extremely lucky to be alive!

The news article stipulated that the DoH would not discuss the policy regarding the servicing of gas heaters with the reporter. The Chase and Tyler Foundation Founder, Vanessa Robinson, had a meeting with Minister for Housing on the 01/11/13 regarding the gas heater servicing policy. It was advised that when the Labour Party was in office, they had no idea which public housing properties had gas heaters. Hence, once an audit was conducted on all properties, the department MAY service these gas appliances afterwards. It was the normal political spin which missed the point of looking after the safety and welfare of our community members.

The Chase and Tyler Foundation were advised by an official government department that the Department of Family and Community Services policy on this is to service gas appliances in public housing properties once every 5 years!!! That is such a huge risk to the public and frankly quite appalling.

If you are in government housing and you don’t know the last time your gas heater was serviced, (if it hasn’t been serviced in the last two years) pick up the phone TODAY and demand that is it done!!