Historical timeline


2020

2020 - 1 July

Commencement of the Loose-fill Asbestos Legislation Amendment Act 2020. The Act balances the individual needs of homeowners with the safety risk affected properties pose to the community by restricting building works that can be undertaken at a property, and providing tradespeople, care workers and other people easy access to information about the asbestos contamination and management plan at an affected property.

The Act also prevents new owners or tenants occupying an affected property upon transfer of ownership, or the end of a tenancy agreement.

A total of 993 properties demolished, with 965 of these as part of the voluntary buyback program as at 1 July 2020.

2020 - May

The ACT Government tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly the Mr Fluffy Legacy Project—Consultation Outcomes Report and Recommendations (the Legacy Report) and the Government Response. The Community and Expert Reference Group (CERG) made 13 recommendations in the Legacy Report to the government following a consultation program run throughout 2019 that sought views on how the ACT community may wish to acknowledge the legacy of Mr Fluffy.

2020 - April

Extension of voluntary buyback program announced due to the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Canberra community. The new property surrender deadline for program participants set to be the later of 30 June 2021 or six months after the COVID-19 Public Health State of Emergency is lifted in the ACT.

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2019

2019 - November

A total of 986 properties demolished, with 958 of these as part of the voluntary buyback program as at 30 November 2019.

Announcement of Pathways to Eradication Package, to be introduced during 2020 and provide greater safety to tradespeople, care workers and other people who visit an affected property. The new initiatives included transition assistance for eligible buyback program participants, additional Asbestos Management Plan requirements, and restrictions to building works that can be undertaken at a property.

The initiatives will prevent new owners or tenants occupying an affected property (occupancy prohibition) upon transfer of ownership, or the end of a tenancy agreement.

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2018

2018 - April

A total of 948 properties demolished, with 926 of these demolished as part of the voluntary buyback program as at 30 April 2018.

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2017

2017 - November

The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency held the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Summit at Old Parliament House, Canberra from 26–28 November 2017. The Summit focused on the direction for Australia's next National Strategic Plan to eradicate asbestos-related diseases and brought together local and international experts in asbestos management, health, advocacy and governance to lead the discussion. The Asbestos Response Taskforce provided an update on the progress of the Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme to attendees.

2017 - July

Voluntary buyback program reopened on 24 July for non-participants.

The National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health held a forum for Mr Fluffy residents and interested members of the public to examine in depth the findings of the ACT Asbestos Health Study. The results were discussed by Associate Professor Martyn Kirk, Dr Rosemary Korda and Emeritus Professor Bruce Armstrong at the Weston Theatre, ANU on Wednesday 19 July 2017. Listen to the presentation on Soundcloud.

Fifth Indicative Demolition Schedule released on 7 July 2017, planning for the demolition of 168 properties through to early 2018.

2017 - February

The Asbestos Response Taskforce Community and Expert Reference Group (CERG) arranged to bring internationally recognised clinical psychologist and expert in community recovery, Dr Rob Gordon, back to Canberra to work with homeowners dealing with the emotional impact of the Mr Fluffy legacy. Dr Gordon facilitated three workshops on 21 February 2017, with the theme 'Moving Forward'. Workshops were designed for 20 participants each, to maximise the opportunity to explore personal experiences.

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2016

2016 - December

Fourth Indicative Demolition Schedule released on 14 December 2016, planning for the demolition of 388 properties through to late 2017.

2016 - July

The Taskforce had conducted 856 face-to-face meetings with homeowners and people in their local areas by 31 July 2016. Face-to-face meetings were conducted across Belconnen, Woden, Tuggeranong and Central Canberra.

Third Indicative Demolition Schedule released on 29 July, targeting 350 demolitions in 2016.

2016 - June

The Taskforce hit its two year milestone on 25 June with a total of 222 demolitions.

2016 - April

First public auctions held. Five blocks in Pearce, Duffy, Waramanga and Chapman auctioned by Ray White on 12 April, with five blocks in Scullin, Fraser, Downer, Campbell and Macgregor auctioned by Independent Property Group on 14 April.

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2015

2015 - December

Second indicative demolition schedule released.

2015 - November

The 20-page guide, Mr Fluffy – from Removal to Renewal, included in The Canberra Times on Saturday 14 November 2015.

The Taskforce presented at the 2nd International Conference of Asbestos Awareness and Management, held in in Brisbane from Sunday 22 November to Tuesday 24 November 2015. The event brought together well renowned local and international experts in asbestos management, health, advocacy and governance to look at best practice in managing the dangers of asbestos in our community and abroad. The conference featured a focus on how Australia can play an influential role in reducing the reliance on asbestos in South East Asia.

2015 - August

First indicative demolition schedule released.

2015 - July

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How dangerous is it to live in a Mr Fluffy house? A public lecture on asbestos presented by Professor Bruce Armstrong, Emeritus Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney. Information about the event is available on the ANU website or listen to the presentation on Soundcloud.

Plant Removal and Retrieval Advice: Establishing a New Garden – Local landscapers, including Mick Burgess, provided free advice on the removal and relocation of plants and small trees from Mr Fluffy affected properties, as well as tips for establishing gardens in new homes. Held at Rodney's Plants Plus, Pialligo, where a special package of pots, fertilizer and discounts for gardeners affected by Mr Fluffy was also available.

The Affected Residential Premises Register was published on the Asbestos Response Taskforce website on 1 July 2015. An information sheet explaining the rationale (552.7 KB) was also published.

2015 - June

Plant Removal and Retrieval Advice – Horticulturalist and landscaper Mick Burgess provided free advice on the removal of plants, trees and shrubs from gardens. Held at Rodney's Plants Plus, Pialligo, where a special package of pots, fertilizer and discounts for gardeners affected by Mr Fluffy was also available.

Dealing with the emotional impact of the Mr Fluffy legacy. Hosted by the Community and Expert Reference Group, Dr Rob Gordon, a clinical psychologist returned to Canberra for a second forum aimed at helping former homeowners, tenants and the community through the impact of Mr Fluffy on their lives. The forum was held at Chapman Primary School, Perry Drive, Chapman on Wednesday 3 June 2015 Watch the video.

First houses demolished under the Buyback and Demolition Program.

Public release of the list of affected houses.

Applications for voluntary buyback program closed.

2015 - March

Head of the Taskforce, Andrew Kefford joined a panel on the ABC 666 Saturday morning gardening program to talk about the Mr Fluffy buyback program and how people can take parts of their garden with them. Over two hours Mr Kefford, with the horticultural advice of Mick Burgess and Dennis Dempsy, took calls and provided advice on a range of plants, trees and garden elements that can be moved to a new home and a new garden.

2015 - February

Head of the Taskforce, Andrew Kefford interviewed on FM104.7 radio. Mr Kefford talked about the progress of the buyback program and answered questions from callers during the breakfast program.

The Taskforce began presentations at Community Council meetings to provide information and answer questions. Between February and August 2015 the Taskforce attended meetings in Belconnen, Inner South, North Canberra, Tuggeranong, Woden and Weston Creek with topics of discussion including the buyback program, Territory Plan Draft Variation 343, the pilot demolition, the demolition process and the release of the list of affected properties.

The Taskforce commenced a program of community engagement activities to present updates on topics such as the buyback program, demolition program, Asbestos Management Plans and the release of the list of affected properties, and to provide opportunities for community members to ask questions about the program and support options. Activities included:

  • forums
  • community meetings
  • information sessions
  • seniors morning teas
  • Attendance at community events such as Parties at the Shops, Communities@Work Community Lunch, RUOK? Community BBQ, Neighbour Day Community Celebrations and the Tuggeranong Festival.

2015 - January

Mandatory tagging of Mr Fluffy homes commenced.

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2014

2014 - December

First three properties surrendered as part of voluntary buyback program.

More than 600 people attended two public forums held in December 2014 where the Australian Property Institute, ACT Environment and Planning Directorate and the Taskforce presented and answered questions about the buyback program, valuations, zoning and community engagement. Over 200 questions, many similar in nature, were received at the forums and through Facebook and Twitter.

Legislation passed to enable the implementation of the buyback and demolition scheme.

2014 - October

Buyback and demolition scheme announced. The government announced the Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme supported by a loan from the Commonwealth of $1 billion, to buy back affected properties at a market rate as at 28 October 2014. Each house surrendered to the ACT Government would be demolished to remove loose fill asbestos from the Canberra community once and for all.

2014 - August

The Community and Expert Reference Group (CERG) was established to provide an important link to those affected by loose fill asbestos, allowing the Taskforce to explore issues with direct input from those most impacted.

2014 - July

The ACT became the first jurisdiction to mandate asbestos awareness training for all workers who might come into contact with asbestos (including the construction industry).

2014 - June

The government established the Asbestos Response Taskforce, began implementing asbestos assessments and delivery of emergency assistance to people affected.

2014 - March

Improved disclosure of Mr Fluffy homes. Contract of sale and building and development applications required by Environment and Planning Directorate to indicate when a home is affected by loose fill asbestos insulation.

2014 - February

Letter to Prime Minister from Chief Minister raising concerns about contaminated lands and loose fill asbestos insulation.

The ACT Government wrote to residents of affected homes in February 2014, drawing on the report of the forensic deconstruction of the Downer house, reminding them of the continuing presence of asbestos fibres in the structure of their homes, and recommending they have an asbestos assessment undertaken.

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2013

2013

The ACT Government ran an asbestos awareness advertising campaign over the Christmas period to coincide with the increase in DIY renovations.

Forensic deconstruction (demolition) of Downer house (discovered in 2011). The forensic deconstruction process revealed new information on the extent to which asbestos fibres had migrated through the structure of a house. The final report was received by the Office of Industrial Relations in late 2013.

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2012

2012

$142,000 was allocated in 2012–13 for a dedicated resource to assist with the effective management of asbestos incidents in Canberra. These funds were to help improve coordination of asbestos removal incidents, and address future government risk and potential liabilities in relation to asbestos.

In June 2012 and again in November 2012, the Chief Minister wrote to the Prime Minister seeking assistance to continue remediation of homes affected by loose fill asbestos insulation.

The ACT Government made a comprehensive submission to the national review on asbestos management, outlining a best practice asbestos management regime.

ACT Labor election campaign includes commitments to "…continue to ensure our workplace safety laws are the best in the country" and "...continue to campaign on asbestos."

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2011

2011

A house in Downer was discovered to have been missed in the 1988–1993 removal program. The house was subsequently purchased in 2012 and forensically deconstructed and demolished in 2013..

The ACT Chief Minister wrote to the Prime Minister regarding the management of asbestos including loose fill asbestos in the Territory.

The government revised and relaunched a new dedicated asbestos website at www.asbestos.act.gov.au (website decommissioned and content migrated Access Canberra website in 2017).

Enactment of the Work Heath and Safety Act 2011, the nationally harmonised legislation (which varied only slightly from the Work Safety Act 2008, given the approach the Territory had taken).

The Government Response to the Asbestos Management Review (2010) Report stated that the government agreed to implement all of the recommendations in the ACT Asbestos Management Review 2010, including the appointment of a response coordinator as suggested in the coordinated action response model, noting:

  • Asbestos has proven to be pervasive in nature and that it is essential that the Government ensures that the approach to asbestos remains contemporary and that the Government responds to changing circumstances.
  • The Government will establish an Asbestos Regulators Forum, which will be made up of representatives from various ACT Government directorates, will formulate and oversight a strategic plan for asbestos management over the next five years.
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2010

2010

The ACT Asbestos Management Review 2010 found that the majority of the recommendations in the 2005 ACT Asbestos Management Strategy had been completed. The review made five further specific recommendations.

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2008

2008

The ACT Government participated in national discussions relating to the proposed harmonisation of work health and safety laws.

The ACT Government agreed to ratification of International Labour Organisation Asbestos Convention (C162) which accepted that there is no safe level of exposure, and to support the World Health Organization in the elimination of the use of asbestos.

The ACT Government developed generic advice about the likely location of asbestos in residential properties built before 1985.

The ACT Government Property Forum endorsed the 2008 Asbestos Management in Non-Residential Government Properties Guidelines. The ACT Government developed data management methods for the storage and management of asbestos registers.

The Territory enacted the Work Safety Act 2008 and is the only jurisdiction to implement the draft core principles. The legislation also applied to the safe handling of asbestos in a workplace setting.

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2007

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2006

2006

Improved disclosure of Mr Fluffy homes on the building file for a property and lease conveyance inquiry (a required document for a contract of sale) was implemented. This included awareness-raising measures for real estate and conveyance lawyers.

2006 - June

ACT Budget. The government provided $750,000 in the 2006–07 Budget toward improving the management of asbestos, and supporting compliance with new asbestos regulations for non-residential buildings, including government-owned buildings.

  • $400,000 to the Department of Territory and Municipal Services for removal of asbestos and other hazardous materials in government properties used for community purposes
  • $150,000 to the Department of Education and Training for the development of asbestos management plans at all schools
  • $200,000 to the Chief Minister's Department to support the implementation of the new non-residential regulations.
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2005

2005

The ACT Asbestos Taskforce developed training programs and printed information resources for tradespeople that were modified in partnership with industry associations (MBA and HIA) and unions to include asbestos awareness.

The Government launched the dedicated asbestos website at www.asbestos.act.gov.au (website decommissioned and content migrated to Access Canberra website in 2017).

The ACT Asbestos Taskforce issued a report on asbestos management in the ACT in relation to residential properties, commercial properties and the building trades and asbestos industry. The Taskforce recommended that an ACT Asbestos Management Strategy be developed based on the report recommendations, accompanied by a five-year program of implementation, together with an asbestos management team to provide effective coordination during implementation of the strategy.

The ACT Government Response to the ACT Asbestos Taskforce Report formed the basis for the strategy. It was agreed the Strategy would be reviewed after five years.

The ACT Asbestos Taskforce undertook extensive analysis to determine the extent and impact of asbestos in the ACT. This analysis was based on empirical data and included a representative sample of buildings. A survey was conducted to complete the analysis to obtain information which, in conjunction with existing data sources and supplementary research findings, would inform an analysis of the extent and impact of asbestos.

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2004

2004 - November

The ACT Asbestos Taskforce was established. The ACT Asbestos Taskforce identified the broad intentions of new asbestos management arrangements in the ACT as providing:

  • general community awareness of asbestos hazards and safe management
  • an enduring system for managing asbestos in the community
  • continuity of knowledge and advice about the location and condition of asbestos (i.e. fair disclosure as to the presence of asbestos)
  • education and warning for people at risk, whether undertaking an activity that disturbs materials containing asbestos, or subject to environmental exposure.

As a result of the establishment of the ACT Asbestos Taskforce, an extensive and ongoing communication and information campaign was undertaken. This campaign included various advertisements and fact sheets targeted at home renovators, tradespeople and the general community to increase awareness of asbestos, the associated risks and where to go to obtain further information.

The ACT Asbestos Taskforce and Implementation Group continued operations until 2006/2007.

2004 - April

Enactment of Dangerous Substances Act 2004. Model legislation governing explosives and chemicals, including asbestos. ACT is one of the few jurisdictions to regulate dangerous substances (including asbestos) in non-workplace settings.

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2003

2003 - December

Prohibition (Ban) of Chrysotile Asbestos - A national ban on the importation, manufacture and use of all products containing chrysotile (white) asbestos came into effect 31 December 2003.

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1988 - 1993

1988 - 1993

The Commonwealth and ACT governments undertook a jointly funded program to remove visible and accessible loose fill asbestos insulation from affected homes in the ACT. That program, designed by the Commonwealth before the commencement of self-government for the ACT in 1989, was largely delivered by the newly-formed ACT Government.

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1968 - 1979

1968 - 1979

D. Jansen & Co. Pty Ltd and its successor firms installed loose fill asbestos insulation in more than 1,000 homes throughout Canberra. The material comprised raw asbestos, crushed and blown into roof spaces and allowed to settle across the battens, ceilings, and behind the cornices. Mr Fluffy is the commonly used name for the asbestos fluff insulation.

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