Community and Expert Reference Group

As part of the ACT Government’s response to the issues that face Mr Fluffy households in the ACT, a Community and Expert Reference Group (CERG) was established in August 2014.

The group was formed 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.

Membership

Paediatrician and former Canberran of the Year, Dr Sue Packer AM FRACP, holds the role of Chairperson of the CERG and the group currently consists of seven other members:

  • Mr Ron Bell (Chief Executive Officer of the Real Estate Institute of the ACT)
  • Ms Chris Healy (former Director of the ACT Bushfire Recovery Centre and homeowner)
  • Ms Brianna Heseltine (Convenor of the Fluffy Owners Residents Action Group and homeowner)
  • Mr Kirk Coningham (Executive Director of the Master Builders Association of the ACT)
  • Mr Jason Jennings (ACT President of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union)
  • Dr Paul Kelly (Chief Health Officer for the ACT)
  • Mr Chris Redmond (Director of Woden Community Service and home owner).

Mission and Terms of Reference

The CERG Mission is:

To identify and raise areas and topics related to the implementation and legacy of the Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme for the Asbestos Response Taskforce (ART) on what can be provided for our wider community, service sector and industry – for now, for the future

We do this to:

Provide assurance, on the Community’s behalf, that the people close to decision-makers are thinking about the right things at the right time.

The way we do this is by:

  • Providing a conduit to the broad community and householder experience.
  • Defining collective positions based on individual experience and representation.
  • Providing input and perspective within the agreed Scheme rules and operating realities of the Taskforce.
  • Challenging emerging positions, asking questions, and demanding answers.
  • Responding to specific questions from the Taskforce - based on experience, or research the CERG may commission.
  • Briefing the Chief Minister directly, and communicating with the Community generally, about CERG positions.

So that we ensure:

  • The Chief Minister is assured by an independent group, outside of the Taskforce, on community and industry perspectives.
  • The Taskforce is assisted to do its job in implementing the Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme and manage the legacy.
  • Community and Experts are both represented and heard by Government.

What the CERG is not:

  • A ‘community’ group; the CERG is a government ‘reference’ group.
  • A decision-making body.
  • A representative or platform for individual advocacy or organisational lobbying.
  • Responsible for quality assurance of the Scheme decisions or operational process.

Message from the CERG Chair - Dr Sue Packer

I am pleased that I now have a regular spot to communicate with all of you in this way.

For those of you who don't know, CERG (Community and Expert Reference Group) was set up by the Chief Minister in August 2014 to work with the Asbestos Response Taskforce around their engagement with the community. The plan was for us to be available to discuss with them the needs and concerns of people in Mr Fluffy houses, including issues for tradespersons who might be called on to visit or work in the houses. The group includes community representatives as well as experts on asbestos, health and all the complexities around selling and buying houses in ACT. The intention of all of this planning is to get the fairest result possible in a timeframe which takes individual priorities into account.

I was chosen to chair CERG because of my history of involvement in the ACT community as well as all my experience working with traumatised families.

It is a huge challenge for all of us, but we have made a beginning and seem to be developing helpful ways of working together.

I personally, and other CERG members, have already heard individually from many of you, and we are hoping to further develop our capacity to do this more effectively over the next few months. This is easier to plan now we have a clear direction for the way ahead following the Commonwealth announcement and the ACT Government’s response.

In the meantime, you have all been inundated with masses of information, both electronically and in print. Don’t try to understand it all at once - it will take time. Don't blame yourself for your difficulties, or think you are going mad. This is the way our minds and bodies have learned to respond to help us survive.

Read small bits of the information at a time. Write notes to remind you of stuff you don't understand. You can follow it up later. There will be plenty of opportunities to clarify any uncertainties.

I am looking forward to meeting more of you.

Sue Packer, CERG Chair

Contact the CERG

The CERG can be contacted through the Taskforce email address: asbestostaskforce@act.gov.au with the subject of the email as “Correspondence for the CERG”.

Newsletters

Terms of Reference

CERG Terms of Reference

Position Papers

Meeting Minutes

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