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Canberra
Saturday, June 19, 2021
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Government assistance for asbestos victims

The ACT Government is establishing an Asbestos Disease Assistance Scheme to help Canberrans who contract mesothelioma (malignant tumours in the lungs, abdomen, or heart) from asbestos in former Mr Fluffy homes.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the scheme was an important next step in the Government’s future response to the legacy of Mr Fluffy.

“While the remediation process to remove Mr Fluffy affected homes once and for all has been successful, we may see more Canberrans suffer the harshest impacts of exposure to loose fill asbestos in the home,” he said.

The Federal Government will contribute up to $8 million to establish the scheme, ACT Senator Zed Seselja, Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt, and Assistant Minister for Territories Nola Marino announced today.

Senator Seselja said it was the right thing to do.

“I have heard the heartbreaking stories of Canberrans who have suffered greatly as a result of living in a Mr Fluffy home. I hope that in some small way this Scheme can ease the burden they and their loved ones face.”

Mr Barr said the Federal Government’s contribution recognised joint responsibility to assist sufferers.

“The loose fill asbestos was installed in these households before self-government, and the original response was conducted by the Commonwealth Government.”

The Commonwealth and ACT Governments are working together to establish the scheme. The ACT Government will administer the Scheme, and announce eligibility details and parameters of the Scheme as they are finalised within coming weeks.

The ACT Government said it was aware of one mesothelioma case, and this individual and his family would be eligible to access support for medical costs associated with the disease.

Senator Seselja and Mr Hunt expressed their appreciation for the tireless advocacy by Canberran James Wallner, his family and friends, on behalf of those suffering illness after living in a Mr Fluffy home.

Mr Wallner, a veterinary scientist, was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma last year after childhood exposure to asbestos.

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