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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 15 August 2019) . . Page.. 2961 ..

Thursday, 15 August 2019

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Asbestos-related works

Ministerial statement

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Children, Youth and Families, Minister for Disability, Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety, Minister for Health and Minister for Urban Renewal) (10.01): I am pleased to present the annual statement on asbestos-related works undertaken across Canberra to ensure the safety of residents, workers and those within the broader community. Activities undertaken during the last financial year have seen several agencies across the ACT government actively manage known asbestos risks for both friable and non-friable asbestos. This is a whole-of-government, whole-of-community effort, and I provide today a comprehensive update on the many activities undertaken in the last 12 months.

Since its establishment in June 2014 the asbestos response task force has made significant progress to realise the ACT government’s goal of eradicating loose-fill asbestos insulation from Canberra suburbs. With 973 of the 1,023 affected properties demolished as at 30 June 2019 and remediated blocks continuing to be sold to former home owners and the general public, there is now an emergence of new homes appearing on remediated blocks, helping to reinvigorate neighbourhoods throughout the affected areas. This work has seen a one-government approach, led by the asbestos response task force, to collaborative planning and problem solving, diligent monitoring and assessment, the introduction of innovative processes and ongoing community engagement.

I am very pleased to report that there were only 50 affected properties remaining as at the end of June 2019, the bulk of which have settlement dates up to June 2020 or whose owners have chosen to manage their Mr Fluffy property privately. This number continues to decrease. It is expected that more home owners will implement eradication options, both through the loose-fill asbestos insulation eradication scheme and privately, best suited to their individual circumstances leading up to June 2020.

The task force is supporting pathways to achieve the end goal of a Canberra community free of Mr Fluffy by working with home owners through the provision of information and connection to industry and community agencies, enabling them to explore pathways to eradication; and working through the challenges associated with complex properties within the scheme.

Once remediated, the sites are then sold, with a first right of refusal offered to the original home owners. Forty-seven have been sold in this manner. Over 850 remediated blocks have been sold in total, many of which have now seen new houses built and families move into new homes in established suburbs.

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