Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 April 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1343 ..
likely to have materials containing asbestos, such as lagging of piping and that sort of stuff. The department has not undertaken specific asbestos audits of its properties. Condition audits were done on many Housing ACT properties during 2004 and some information about materials that could contain asbestos was obtained from that. This is the sort of information that one hands over to the asbestos task force; tell them what types of things may be present, remembering that one of the big messages coming out of the task force is that asbestos is at its most dangerous when disturbed. So we do not go about disturbing it if we can help it.
Mr Speaker, in terms of actions taken to comply with the legislation, the department has prepared letters and a form complying with section 47J of the act entitled “Managing Asbestos: Advisory Forms” for all of its properties. The advisory forms contain information based mainly on the 2004 condition audits. That is the bit I wish to clarify for Mrs Burke: the information we got out of the condition audits in 2004 has been conveyed to her tenants. It does not necessarily apply specifically to particular premises, but from a global perspective.
The letters were sent to all tenants, head tenants and lessees of community facilities and childcare centres owned by the department on 4 April this year. That was yesterday; so it is not impossible, Mr Speaker, that the tenant of a government house somewhere in the ACT has not yet received a letter. That is not impossible; it was only 24 hours ago. I would expect that, given Australia Post’s speed, most of them would have received that letter or will receive it today, because it was in fact sent out yesterday, 4 April 2005.
Six different versions of the letters to tenants and three versions of the advisory form were sent out. The first was in relation to properties constructed since 1988, the second was about single properties where Housing ACT had specific knowledge about the likelihood of asbestos, and the third was about single properties where ACT Housing had no specific knowledge about the likelihood of asbestos.
Also, we sent letters to properties in a complex where Housing ACT had specific knowledge about the likelihood of asbestos and, of course, a different one to properties in a complex where we did not have any specific knowledge about the likelihood of asbestos being there. Lastly, they went to properties in a complex where Housing ACT did not have information about the likelihood of asbestos in all units within that complex. A visual inspection will be arranged for units where there was no information available or where there were inconsistencies within a complex.
An asbestos audit is being done of all community facilities and childcare centres, which will be of interest to Mrs Burke because it goes to the question just asked. Hopefully, it will be completed by June or July this year. I reiterate that we have over 11,500 properties, so it is a bit difficult to do it that quickly in terms of its being completed before now. To have it completed by June/July of this year I think is still a pretty good effort.
Maintenance contractors who are undertaking repairs and maintenance on the department’s properties are to be provided with the section 47J advisory forms from 4 April onwards. As new information is obtained about the possible presence of asbestos in properties, updated advisory forms will be sent to relevant persons. Lastly, Mr Speaker, a project team has been established to respond to phone calls through the