Page 1161 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015
that she is seeking. That would require an individual assessment of every single Housing ACT property. That is simply not going to be possible. I would argue that that would be a complete waste of resources.
I think the bottom line in this is that every property, public or private, built in Canberra prior to 1989 contains asbestos. The issue that we are dealing with in relation to Mr Fluffy is the most dangerous, that being loose-fill asbestos. So I cannot support, and the government cannot support, the amendment that Ms Lawder has moved.
I suggest that, rather than going back and forth with amendments to amendments, Ms Lawder simply allow this to be voted down and put a question on notice that actually outlines the information that she is seeking. The government would be happy to investigate whether that can be provided in a cost-effective manner. But there is no way that we would be authorising potentially tens of thousands of dollars of expenditure to find an answer to a question like this that is dropped in this way at this time in a debate like this.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Women and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Social Inclusion and Equality) (5.10): I repeat what the Chief Minister has said about this amendment: no, we cannot support this amendment as it is written now. I wrote an amendment that turned a question on notice into an actual motion so that I could respond to the questions that Ms Lawder had presented to the Assembly today.
However, as information becomes available on some of the concerns that Ms Lawder raised about our public housing homes in the ACT, I am happy to bring that information to the Assembly. As I said in my speech earlier, the public housing portfolio has approximately 5,300 homes and 200 small to large complexes that were built prior to 1989. Like many other Canberra homes built before 1989, most of these dwellings are likely to contain some form of asbestos product.
We have identified the five that had loose-fill asbestos. However, as we have discussed today at length, advice on what to do with asbestos and its management has been provided to tenants who are signing up to their agreements or signing up to new leases. In addition, the government has a website that provides comprehensive advice for everyone in Canberra. Tradespeople are provided with training to work with products that contain asbestos. The aim for working with asbestos is to minimise any contamination. However, expert and trained people should be doing that.
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 remain vigilant on that. The government will not be supporting the amendment to my amendment to Ms Lawder’s motion. However, I am happy to bring information to the Assembly when that is available.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.12): I will briefly indicate my position. I will not be supporting Ms Lawder’s proposed amendment either.