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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 March 2015) . . Page.. 766 ..

present those properties are not included on the list. I might add that we have had some approaches from people wanting the properties to be included on the list where there has been a knock-down and a rebuild and no asbestos is present or asbestos that would be present is buried beneath a concrete slab of a new property. In those circumstances, common sense prevails and those properties are not included in the buyback scheme. The point the Leader of the Opposition makes is noted, but I respond by observing that there are people who want their properties in and people who want their properties out, and the task force has to have a consistent approach.

Finally, I make the observation that it will not be the government devaluing properties; it will be the market. These properties will have no value; the houses will have no value. If people choose not to participate in the buyback scheme by 30 June, when they can register for a valuation, the properties will have no value. It will be the market that determines that, not the government. Of course, the land will still have value, and what a potential purchaser might be prepared to pay in the private market for the value of the land will be a retained value for those who own the properties. But the house itself the market will determine to have no value. In fact, it will be a drag, if you like, on the land value because a potential purchaser of a particular dwelling would then have to knock it down and rebuild. A rational consumer would then only pay the value of the land minus the cost of a knock-down. That is a reality.

The government is offering through the voluntary buyback scheme something in advance of that—the value of the home as if there was no asbestos present, plus the land value. That is the benefit and why 90 per cent of householders are participating in the buyback scheme. I certainly encourage those who are yet to register for a valuation to do so. It does not commit them to accepting an offer from the government, but at least it provides them with an understanding of what the government offer would be. Registering for that process is open all the way through until 30 June. I note the latest statistics show that more than 900 of the 1,021 properties have now registered. The government has made offers on more than 600, and as recently as this week I understand we now own more than 200 properties.

The buyback scheme is working effectively and the government, through the asbestos task force, will continue to support affected households. It will continue to move quickly to respond to individual circumstances, recognising that across 1,021 properties there will be a wide variety of different individual circumstances. The task force is working very closely with individual households in order to respond to individual issues that have been raised. I encourage any member of the Assembly who has received approaches to refer any concerns through me to the task force, and I will ensure that the task force is in contact with affected households as quickly as possible to work through all of the issues, recognising that not everyone will be 100 per cent happy. There is no way any buyback scheme on this scale will keep everyone 100 per cent happy all the way through. But I am pleased with the progress of the scheme. I acknowledge the hard work of the task force and all of the ACT public servants who are working very hard to assist affected home owners. I again take the opportunity to thank all members in this place for their support of this legislation and, indeed, for the buyback scheme. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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