Page 387 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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Mr Coe: Almost half the answer, Madam Speaker. The specific question was: are the media reports true regarding the Ainslie shops being cleaned as opposed to demolished? We would appreciate an answer in response to that.

MADAM SPEAKER: The minister for planning, on relevance.

MR GENTLEMAN: Yes, I am getting to the nub of the question, but I wanted to give it some context, because it is important that the community understands the work that is ongoing with the asbestos task force, and the work that is ongoing with WorkSafe ACT. The media reports are not correct. The way of dealing with asbestos in the long term, the only safe way of dealing with loose-fill asbestos, is by demolition. But there may be some management options in the meantime, and this is what the task force and WorkSafe ACT are looking at.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, what is the basis of the media reports?

MR GENTLEMAN: It is an interesting question. I think journalists like to sell newspapers. Of course what occurs is that they need to create an exciting story to sell those newspapers. Unfortunately it does affect our community. So it is really important, I think, that we have the truth out there that this government is very supportive of those that have been affected by loose-fill asbestos. We are going through the eradication program with the residential. WorkSafe ACT is inspecting the Ainslie shops at the moment to look at what can occur there.

As I said at the beginning of the answer, we know that the only long-term solution is demolition and we need to work through that process, look at the amount of contamination within this shopping centre, and WorkSafe ACT are doing that now.

MS LEE: Minister, if it is true that you are having ongoing discussions with the owner of the Ainslie shops, are you giving that same option to the 1,023 owners of Fluffy-contaminated homes to give their input into the long-term solution you are proposing?

MR GENTLEMAN: I do not believe that the premise of the question comes back to my answer. We are not having discussions with the owners of the shops in relation to the long-term use of Ainslie shops that are contaminated by loose-fill asbestos. WorkSafe ACT and asbestos inspectors are looking at the moment to identify how much loose-fill asbestos is in that space and will then identify a plan and work with the owners for the eradication of loose-fill asbestos.

Alexander Maconochie Centre—staff safety

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Corrections. Minister, I refer to the article in the Canberra Times on 24 January 2017 titled “Union ‘deeply concerned’” regarding an incident at the Alexander Maconochie Centre where three guards were assaulted. Minister, under what circumstances can it occur that three guards are assaulted, and how is it possible that the prisoner or the inmate was so easily able to assault security staff?

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