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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 7 Hansard (6 August) . .

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MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.26): I will speak now to the amendment and close the debate. I thank everybody today for their contributions. I indicate that, as I discussed earlier, we will be supporting Ms Porter's amendment, which is an agreed amalgam of our two motions. I think this presents the position of this Assembly quite clearly. It is good that the position of this Assembly is reflected in the two motions being written so similar in their intent. I think that the only significant addition really that has carried over is the issue that we need to make sure that the task force is properly resourced. I think that that—right here, right now—is an important matter for families.

I will not re-litigate everything that has been said. I think the case has been made very well by all of those who spoke. They have raised different aspects of the situation, both historically and where we sit now—the impact on families, the great work of the task force, the action of the government, the complexity and the enormity of this issue.

What I would like to do in closing is reflect on the personal impact on families. I was at one of the meetings at Kambah with the Chief Minister and others. We have heard the stories firsthand, as many of you have from a great diversity of people in Canberra—older people who have been in their houses for years, younger families, people who are renting properties out, and so on.

I will leave you with an email I received from one family which is common in terms of the concerns people have. I think reading through many of the emails I received and reflecting on the conversations is important as we move forward. This does get difficult and it does get costly to remind ourselves of the impact on families. The email from a family in the Belconnen area starts by stating:

We settled on our home on 23 November 2013.

So this is only recently.

We have a two-year-old living in our home and a baby due in mid-October. The first we knew of Mr Fluffy, or that our home could still contain loose-fill asbestos, was on 23 July 2014, when we received a registered letter from the ACT Government Asbestos Taskforce.

So they have not been in their home long. This is their entire asset. They have a young child and a baby on the way. There are two pages of the concerns and the problems that they are facing. I will not read it all, but I will go to the end:

My husband and I are feeling totally overwhelmed with the situation we find ourselves in. We worry about the health impacts this could have for us and our children in 30 years' time. We cannot sleep, and spend every waking hour thinking about the financial ruin that we are facing.

There are a thousand other stories the same as that. I think that that is worth reminding ourselves of every time this gets difficult, every time this gets costly. These are the people that we represent, and these are the people that I am proud to say this Assembly has joined together unanimously to support today.


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