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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2021) . . Page.. 2023 ..


MR PARTON (Brindabella) (11.43): I am not sure that there is a great deal to be said about this bill, which removes the current funding limitation deadline of 17 August this year. It will enable any further loose-fill asbestos situations that might be discovered to be resolved through the normal budget procedures, and this is a very good thing.

As demonstrated with the previous loose-fill asbestos remediation scheme, it is quite a traumatic experience when people discover that, in a lot of cases, their precious home, which has been their home for many years, has been, in effect, condemned. Almost 1,000 homes have been demolished, with far-reaching consequences for the personal wellbeing of affected residents. I think that we all appreciate and understand that.

As we were advised in the brief provided by Minister Vassarotti’s office, there is some chance—and there will be some chance potentially for decades, I think—that other affected homes may be detected. It is possible that others will be detected. There is no argument from the Canberra Liberals on this front. Compliments to the government for their prudence in ensuring that there is no budget process impediment when new contamination situations are detected.

I do hope, in the unfortunate event that any new contamination situations are found, that the affected owners and residents will be treated with fairness and compassion. I would certainly hope that that is the case, and I am sure everyone in the chamber will be very disappointed if anything other than a very small number of homes are detected. Fingers crossed, Mr Assistant Speaker; let us hope that there are no more discovered.

Finally, I wish to thank Minister Vassarotti for making her staff available to brief us on this bill. I did remark to Ms Vassarotti earlier today that it was quite refreshing for us to be dealing with something in this place that did not involve us arguing about anything. May there be more of it.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.46): I am pleased to speak in support of the Loose-fill Asbestos Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. The eradication scheme was developed to address the significant health, financial and social risks to the Canberra community of the continuing presence of loose-fill asbestos insulation in more than 1,000 homes across Canberra.

As members know, asbestos was frequently used in building materials in Australia until the mid to late 1980s. The use of materials containing asbestos lessened after the time, until it was banned in 2004. It is important that we tackle the issue, and I am proud of the work that the government and officials have done. This has been a nation-leading program. I thank the team, particularly in EPSDD, for their excellence in public policy.


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