Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (23 June) . . Page.. 2495..
MR WOOD: You know my view on who has responsibility for going into great detail on this. Mr Pratt, if by "planning meetings"you mean the morning and afternoon sessions when all the personnel of the ESB get together to understand the forecast, read about the conditions and indicate what is going to happen during the day, I was there for the morning session. I did not attend the afternoon sessions bearing in mind that I was also a minister with a range of other activities to carry out.
I had many informal discussions over that period about issues mainly centring around whether we could hold the fire, what the future was, whether it would get into the pine forests and other questions of that nature. That is the extent of it, Mr Pratt.
MR PRATT: Minister, did you brief Mr Stanhope, as the man who would act as minister on that fateful Saturday, about the progress of the bushfires on Friday, 17 January 2003 and, if so, what did you tell him?
MR WOOD: Mr Stanhope became acting minister at that time. We had had an extensive briefing on the Thursday-wasn't that when we had that briefing?-with Mr Castle and others, and Mr Stanhope was pretty much as informed as I was as to what was happening.
MS TUCKER: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, I think you are aware, as is the Chief Minister, that there has been a series of letters to you both from Elizabeth Thurbon regarding asbestos in Canberra. As you are aware, she is concerned that there is potential for people to contract the disease asbestosis, particularly, from renovating houses. She is concerned that there is still a lot of ignorance in the community about that and that people will not necessarily know it is there, even if they see it, because they do not understand the implications or know what it is.
They have been asking that the government bring in some kind of alert system that is triggered when a house is sold-basically, a mandatory report, which would come with the building inspection, of the existence of asbestos, so that the buyer knows if the house has asbestos and where it is. With that alert will come notification of the dangers of sanding it or drilling into it, et cetera.
As I understand it, you do not think that there is need for more education on this, but can you tell the Assembly whether you would be prepared to bring in some kind of alert system of the nature Mrs Thurbon has been talking to you about?
MR CORBELL: I will take the majority of the question on notice because these are issues that are being dealt with across a range of portfolios. I will be happy to reply in some more detail to Ms Tucker when I get that information together. What I can say is that the issue of asbestos in dwellings is of concern.
The difficulty with Ms Tucker's suggestion is that asbestos is very difficult to formally identify without testing the material. For example, there is a range of sheeting used in different types of dwellings, dating back many decades, some of which may be asbestos based and some of it not. The only sure way to know exactly what is in that material is to