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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2021) . . Page.. 2024 ..

I want to acknowledge the work of officials in helping families and Canberrans impacted by Mr Fluffy. A key success of these officials has been maintaining a focus throughout on people—providing compassionate support, clear guidance and meaningful assistance. This bill builds on this important work.

The bill ensures that these risks are significantly reduced by ensuring that home owners who discover loose-fill asbestos insulation in their properties after the end of the current scheme will be supported by the government, and will have options and assistance available to them similar to home owners whose properties were identified earlier.

I understand that, at the end of April 2021, 992 of the 1,027 Canberra residential properties identified as containing, or having once contained, loose-fill asbestos insulation had been demolished, both within the scheme and privately. Since the announcement of the current scheme in 2014, the government has continued to actively strive towards reaching the goal of eradication from the ACT community.

The asbestos literacy of most Canberrans has improved since the announcement of the scheme in 2014, and community expectation is for government to effectively manage loose-fill asbestos properties in a compassionate and timely way. The ongoing scheme addresses that expectation; it will continue to support community safety through the identification of properties containing loose-fill asbestos insulation and effectively manage their removal from the community. As this work continues, WorkSafe will continue its important role in keeping our broader community safe.

In summary, I believe the bill supports the government’s commitment to eradication of loose-fill asbestos insulation from the ACT residential community.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (11.49), in reply: I am pleased to discuss the Loose-fill Asbestos Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. I would also like to thank members for their contributions to the debate on this bill today.

The Loose-fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme was introduced in 2014 to provide a mechanism for home owners whose properties were affected by loose-fill asbestos insulation to consider the options available to them in managing their properties. As the original scheme reaches its end date of 17 August, I would like to begin by marking this milestone and briefly reflecting on the experience. Unlike the 2003 bushfires that were so visible and touched so many, the Mr Fluffy crisis was comparatively silent and invisible to many Canberrans who were not directly affected.

The effort to rid Canberra of loose-fill asbestos has been a long, difficult journey for affected home owners in Canberra. I would like to acknowledge the personal toll that it has taken on many families. It is clear that, while most of the affected properties are now gone, the trauma endures. I would also like to acknowledge the tireless work of the public servants in the Asbestos Response Task Force, who have worked with individual home owners—with each case different in its own way—since 2014. The

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