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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 6 Hansard (3 Junes) . . Page.. 1667..


In relation to engagement with the federal government, there have been repeated correspondence and representations formally put to the federal government by the territory. Most recently, I have written to the new federal work safety minister, Senator Abetz, outlining my concerns about the position put by the asbestos eradication agency and whether or not the views put by that agency reflect the views of the commonwealth. If they do, it would suggest that the commonwealth really does need to shoulder its burden, its historical legacy, and assist the territory and householders with the problems that we are continuing to face in relation to these homes.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, has the government had any discussions with trade organisations? If so, what were the outcomes of those discussions? With which organisations have you spoken? What were the outcomes?

MR CORBELL: I am not aware of what Mr Wall is referring to when he says "trade organisations".

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, given that the government has announced that it will not release a list of Mr Fluffy homes, how will tradespeople such as electricians and carpenters doing work on these properties know whether or not a home is contaminated?

MR CORBELL: This is an important issue and it does require the balancing of two competing interests. There is, obviously, an interest in people who are working in a property being aware as to whether or not there may be remnant loose-fill asbestos on the property. For that reason, the government has announced that it is mandating asbestos awareness training for everyone who works in these trades and will work in these buildings, whether they are electricians, plumbers and so on. So we are mandating a specific level of awareness training so that if they identify remnant loose-fill asbestos in the course of their work they are aware of that and they know what to do.

Secondly, there is, as I say, a balancing of competing interests because, whilst there is the issue around tradespeople, there are also the views of the property owners and the desire on the part of a large number of those property owners to not have their homes publicly named in a manner that may stigmatise their property. This is a competing interest that the government is seeking to address. The government is giving further consideration to what mechanisms can be put in place—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR CORBELL: I am answering the question—to ensure that tradespeople are aware as to whether or not the home was part of the loose-fill removal program. I expect to make further announcements about that in due course.


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