Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 October 2015) . . Page.. 3703 ..
(1) notes that:
(a) on 14 December 2014 the Assembly Standing Committee on Public Accounts, including two Labor Government MLAs, recommended that an ACT board of inquiry be constituted, pursuant to the Inquiries Act 1991, to investigate the full history of the Mr Fluffy legacy and report by 1 March 2016;
(b) in response to the Committee on Public Accounts, the Government agreed there was a need to consider the entirety of the history of this issue; and
(c) that Mr Barr said on 22 September 2015 in response to an Assembly question that “I never disagreed with the need to establish a board of inquiry”; and
(2) calls on the Chief Minister to immediately establish a board of inquiry into the Mr Fluffy tragedy pursuant to the Inquiries Act 1991 to present a final report to the Assembly no later than the last sitting day of August 2016.
This is not a new issue. I think people are well aware of the circumstances surrounding Mr Fluffy and of the tragedy and impact on our community; indeed, we were debating this issue yesterday. The issue of a board of inquiry into this issue is not new either; this has been discussed for some time in committee, in the Assembly and in the community. Indeed, it was the subject of an editorial in the Canberra Times yesterday. I am disappointed that I find myself back in the Assembly calling on the government to do this, because in my view it is self-evident that this is something that should be occurring with a degree of haste.
As we are all aware, there are in the order of 1,200 homes that will be demolished. They are not just bricks and mortar; they are people’s family homes. They have been the subject of this tragedy and are now going to be demolished. A billion dollars is going to be expended on this program, and the net impact on our budget is in the order of $400 million. The impact on people’s lives emotionally has been significant, and the impact on people’s health is not as well understood as perhaps it could be. I note again that there was an article earlier this week about someone who, sadly, seems to be dying of mesothelioma. The impact on the health of many home owners, tradies, electricians and people who have crawled through wall cavities is extensive.
There is also the point that this is now an ongoing program. The substantive decisions have been made; the money has been appropriated; this is an ongoing task. There will always be excuses that there is more that needs to be done, more that needs to be remediated. But we have inquiries after significant natural disasters and we do not wait until the whole community is rebuilt before we have an inquiry. That is not the case. That is not the precedent. I think that in many ways it is the least the government can do to move on from this issue and learn from it.
In December 2014, the Assembly Standing Committee on Public Accounts, which included two Labor members, Ms Porter and Ms Berry, recommended that the government establish a board of inquiry pursuant to the Inquiries Act to investigate