Page 1157 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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(e) that any Housing ACT properties demolished under the Asset Recycling Initiative, which contain asbestos, will be managed appropriately through relevant planning, environment and work, health and safety controls.”.

I want to begin by talking about bonded asbestos that may be present in Housing ACT properties. As Ms Lawder has informed us today, and I can confirm, most Canberra homes that were built prior to 1989, both public and privately owned, are likely to contain asbestos products, such as bonded asbestos sheeting used in wet areas or under eaves, as well as in external buildings such as garden sheds and garages.

Bonded asbestos does not present a risk to human health if it is not disturbed and remains in good condition. However, it is important that we as a community remain vigilant in keeping asbestos products in good condition and in seeking professional assistance when its condition deteriorates or renovations are required.

Housing ACT retains records of all public housing properties that may potentially contain asbestos materials based on a construction date of pre 1989. The public housing portfolio has approximately 5,300 houses and 200 small to large complexes that were built prior to 1989. Like other Canberra homes built before 1989, most of these dwellings are likely to contain some form of asbestos product.

Since 2005 Housing ACT has provided detailed information in writing to its tenants about asbestos that may be present in their homes. Housing ACT property files are marked as having the potential presence of asbestos materials, and any action taken in regard to those materials is also noted on file. Housing ACT continues to ensure that all its new and current tenants are provided with information on managing asbestos and an asbestos advisory form as part of signing or renewing their tenancy agreement. The fact sheet includes advice on what to do in the event that materials possibly containing asbestos are damaged.

In addition the ACT government has a website that provides comprehensive advice for all members of the Canberra community. Public housing tenants can also call the 24-hour seven-day-a-week maintenance line if they have any questions or concerns. That number is 6207 1500.

Tradespeople who work on public housing properties are trained to deal with products that contain asbestos. The aim is to minimise disturbance and therefore the release of asbestos fibres. Where a tenant or contractor suspects that a public housing property may contain asbestos and the area is damaged or is about to be disturbed due to building activity, a sample is taken from the site and tested to determine the presence or absence of asbestos. This information is passed on to the tenant and contractors undertake the work accordingly.

Assessments were made at all five properties that were identified as having Mr Fluffy asbestos. Housing ACT provided a copy of the second report to tenants. No additional evidence of asbestos was identified in the second report. Housing ACT has been working with affected tenants to transfer them to alternative homes. Each of the five tenants has met with Housing ACT and had their individual circumstances considered.

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