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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 4 Hansard (24 March) . .

Page.. 1013..


Mr Fluffy loose-fill asbestos—Update on the ACT Government response to the issue—Ministerial statement, 24 March 2015.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.40): I thank the Chief Minister for his update on the progress of what I would agree is a very difficult and complex area of public policy. We have supported the government's legislation that they have brought before this place, and on this issue we have worked cooperatively to make sure that there is a substantive remediation package and a substantive policy program put out there to get rid of the Mr Fluffy legacy once and for all.

It is particularly complex and particularly difficult for the individuals involved. I am sure that all of us at various stages have had conversations with Mr Fluffy home owners. Each situation is unique but many of them carry with them very similar stories, be it people who have been in their homes for decades, who maybe have just completed a renovation and face significant capital loss, or be it young families who have just moved into a home weeks before finding out that it was a Mr Fluffy home. These are traumatic stories and for the individuals concerned it is very difficult.

We agree with much of what the government has done—in fact, with much of what the government has done over the number of months since it was decided action must be taken, there have been initiatives put forward by the Canberra Liberals. But, Madam Deputy Speaker, as you would be intimately aware, from the public accounts committee, the evidence that was presented there and the stories that many of us heard from Mr Fluffy home owners, there is a need for the program that has been designed by the government to be more fair and flexible.

Although the Chief Minister said in his update that many people have joined on to the scheme, and intimated that therefore it is an acceptance that this is a good program and they are happy with it, let me assure you, Madam Deputy Speaker, that that is not the case. I have spoken to many home owners who have joined the government scheme because they feel they have no option. In their words, they feel there is a gun to their head and they must sign on or they risk losing everything.

What looms large for many of these individuals is the fear that if they do not sign on to the scheme then on 1 July or on a date soon after there will be a knock on their door from someone in the government condemning their property, under whichever act it is—the Public Health Act or another one.

It is not true to say that simply because people are signing on they are content, are happy or believe that the government's scheme is sufficiently fair or flexible. It is simply that they do not have a choice. What I would ask the government to do is to confirm, and provide clarity on, what happens to those individuals who do not sign on, because there is this looming threat. The government has said that all the houses will be demolished. The government has said that this will not be left for another generation. But what does that mean? The implied threat is that there will be that


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