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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 8 December 2011) . . Page.. 6051 ..


with the unique occurrence (worldwide) of pure loose-fill asbestos that had been used as a form of ceiling insulation across the ACT. One local firm imported and installed this asbestos insulation, trading as “Mr Fluffy”, between approximately 1968 to 1978.

The program required the development of a new and comprehensive approach. As well as the actual extraction of loose-fill asbestos from homes, removal technology provided for worker safety, barrier containment, negative pressure air systems and associated equipment. Quality assurance covered methods of measurement and laboratory techniques appropriate for examining air samples to identify asbestos fibre levels. The program followed the standards detailed in the 1988 NOHSC Asbestos - Code of Practice which form the basis of the current 2005 NOHSC codes of practice.

The program involved a major survey of all residential homes in the ACT built before 1980 (approximately 65,000 homes). The program identified approximately 1082 houses containing loose asbestos insulation. The program did not extend beyond residential homes and did not include residential homes built after 1980 (given that Mr Fluffy ceased trading in 1978). Specific answers to the members questions are:

(a) The program included all premises that were constructed and occupied as a residential dwelling before 1980; and those that were being used as a residential dwelling at the time of the asbestos insulation and thereafter.

(b) The program covered all houses built before 1980.

(c) No. The program only covered houses built before 1980.

(2) The Government holds records showing which homes were remediated under the program. This information is also contained in the building file for each property and accessible through a lease conveyancing inquiry for a property. The Government is aware of one North Canberra property that still contains loose asbestos insulation. The Government is currently assisting the owners to remediate the property.

The Government does not hold information on how many and which businesses contain loose asbestos insulation. However all non-residential premises in the ACT must have an asbestos register and management plan that is prepared by a licensed asbestos assessor and must comply with all recommendations in the management plan. The Government is aware of at least one commercial premises that contains loose asbestos insulation and regular inspections are conducted on this property. The Government will soon consider an amendment to regulations to require notification of premises where loose asbestos insulation is identified.

(3) The Government has not undertaken any further asbestos removal programs. The program was considered extremely reliable and has provided a high level of assurance that properties identified as containing loose asbestos insulation have been remediated. However the identification of properties still containing loose asbestos insulation cannot be excluded. Since the program ended in 1993, a total of five residential properties, including the North Canberra Property, have been identified as containing loose asbestos insulation and remediated with Government assistance.

(4) Consistent with the program, the ACT Government voluntarily assists home owners to remediate residential properties that are identified as containing loose asbestos insulation. This includes the cost of removal and remediation, replacement insulation and the provision of alternate accommodation. Any other incidental costs are considered on a case-by-case basis.


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