Page 1160 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.05): I move:

Add new paragraph (3)

“(3) calls on the ACT Government to advise the Assembly, by the first sitting day in May, the number of Housing ACT dwellings containing asbestos.”.

I have moved a simple amendment. I do not disagree with many of the points that have been made so far in this debate and the amendment that Ms Berry circulated. I think it is quite clear if you read my motion or listen to what I said earlier that there was no criticism. There was no slack in what I said. I am simply asking some questions and asking for some information to be made available in an open and transparent way.

On that basis I have circulated this amendment in my name. I am asking for a bit of transparency. We already know—it is on the public record—that there are five public housing properties with Mr Fluffy in them. That was given in public evidence at the PAC inquiry late last year. So I am well aware of that and I think it was probably clear from my motion and from my speech accompanying the motion that Mr Fluffy is only one very small part of the information that I am seeking.

Therefore, I reiterate my point: I would like the ACT government to make public the number of public housing properties that contain asbestos, not just Mr Fluffy properties. I commend this amendment to the Assembly.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (5.07): I do not want to delay the Assembly too much. I think I understand the information Ms Lawder is seeking to obtain. My initial reaction would be that, without being able to necessarily specify different asbestos types, this could involve a requirement for the government to have someone go and check all 12,000 properties inch by inch across the board to get an accurate answer to the question about properties containing asbestos.

What does that mean? Does that mean that if one single sheet in the eaves of a property has bonded asbestos that would count? I think it is just crazy to be seeking information like this by way of an amendment on the floor of the Assembly. Ms Lawder would be better served in my view by placing a question on notice and being more specific about the information she is seeking.

Is this a question of bonded asbestos? Ms Berry made the point, and it is correct, that every property in Canberra built before 1989 is likely to contain asbestos somewhere, but it is unlikely that there will be a detailed asset management register down to the last panel or what might be around kitchen sinks or pipes in houses built well before self-government.

I do not think we can agree to this today without knowing the cost implications of getting the information that Ms Lawder is seeking, and certainly not in the time frame

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