It is a legacy the Canberra community has grappled with over many years with the true impact of loose fill asbestos insulation felt by homeowners and tenants of the 1022 houses affected by 'Mr Fluffy' in the past 18 months.
After receiving a $1 billion loan from the Australian Government, the ACT Government response in October 2014 through the Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme, comprising the Buyback and Demolition Programs.
The Government did not arrive at this response lightly, but after much consideration of consensus expert advice which pointed to removal of each affected houses as the only enduring solution for the community.
It is a significant undertaking by the Government, community and industry and a deeply personal one for the many families and neighbours who have been impacted by loose fill asbestos insulation.
While applications for the Voluntary Buyback Program closed on 30 June 2015, the Taskforce continues to work with and support owners and tenants participating in the Buyback Program and those who are considering their options around the future of their house or block.
- Homeowners who have chosen to participate in the Voluntary Buyback Program have received:
- Market value ignoring contamination
- Stamp Duty concessions
- Relocation Assistance Grants (for a family of four this represents $14,000)
- First Right of Refusal on cleared blocks
- Support for wellbeing and assistance from utilities, banks, community organisations and businesses
- Some homeowners have opted into the Voluntary Program with a delayed settlement, allowing them to reside in their house for a short period provided an Asbestos Management Plan is prepared and implemented.
- Homeowners who opted for a First Right of Refusal will soon be able to begin discussions on the process to repurchase their remediated block.
Support and Engagement
- The Taskforce continue to provide information and support through the Personal Support Team and continues to issue a regular newsletter with owner stories, links to community events and resources.
- Homeowners are encouraged to share their stories to help support recovery and manage change collectively with people who have shared experiences.
- The Taskforce has worked with community service organisations, local business, utilities and banks to be accessible and offer a range of practical assistance above the ACT Governments response.
- The Taskforce has supported, participated in and hosted a range of community forums, information nights and events for homeowners and tenants and the broader community.
- The Taskforce worked with the Community and Expert Reference Group in implementing the Voluntary Buyback Program.
Useful Links and Contacts
- Taskforce Personal Support Team through Access Canberra on 13 22 81
- Lifeline (24 hours) 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
- School Counselors
- Employment Assistance Program (EAP)