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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 14 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 6103..

Housing ACT—asbestos (Question No 1954)

Ms Bresnan asked the Minister for Community Services, upon notice, on 8 December 2011:

(1) Does the ACT Government maintain a central record, or a register, of those Housing ACT dwellings that are known to contain asbestos; if not, why not; if so, (a) how many dwellings, including individual apartments and units, are on that register, (b) how is that register maintained and checked, (c) what steps does the Government take to ensure asbestos is sealed, (d) are tenants always made aware if asbestos exists on the property they are renting and (e) are tenants who have asbestos in the property they are renting provided with education about what precautions to take.

(2) Is the Government aware of how many Housing ACT properties have asbestos sheds; if so, what is done to ensure they are safe.

Ms Burch: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) The Community Services Directorate does not maintain a central record or register of housing properties that are known to contain asbestos. Under the Dangerous Substances ACT 2004 and Dangerous Substances (General) Regulation 2004, an Asbestos Register is not required for residential properties in the ACT. A Register is however, required for commercial properties.

Notwithstanding this Housing and Community Services retains records of all public housing properties that may potentially contain asbestos materials based on a construction date (ie pre 1985).

(a) Housing ACT has approximately 5300 houses and 200 small to large complexes that were built prior to 1985 and these properties are managed on the basis that they may contain asbestos.

(b) As detailed above, the Community Services Directorate does not maintain a central record or register of housing properties that are known to contain asbestos

(c) Where damaged materials are identified as containing asbestos, they are more likely to be removed than sealed.

(d) and (e) In 2005, all Housing ACT tenants were informed in writing of materials in their properties that may potentially contain asbestos. The letters and Section 47J notices to all tenants contained an asbestos advice guide and indicated the year the property was built. The letter also informed tenants about their responsibilities under the law including what to do and who to call if they had any concerns or questions. The files for these properties were noted as having the potential presence of asbestos materials and any action in regard to those materials are also noted on file.

Housing ACT continues to ensure all new and current tenants are provided with a fact sheet on managing asbestos, as part of signing or renewing their residential tenancy agreement. The fact sheet includes advice on what to do in the event that materials, possibly containing asbestos are damaged. In addition, the ACT

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