The ACT Government will develop a new voluntary buyback program for properties affected by loose-fill asbestos.
The new scheme is in large part a continuation of the current buyback program which closes on 17 August, but will apply only to properties found to have loose-fill asbestos after that date.
“It is possible there could be additional affected properties in Canberra’s older suburbs that are yet to be identified as containing loose-fill asbestos insulation,” said Sustainable Building and Construction Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, as she introduced the legislation to the Assembly on Thursday.
“It is understood in addition to Mr Fluffy-installed loose-fill asbestos … bags of loose-fill asbestos were available for purchase and were used either as stand-alone insulation or mixed with other insulation products,” Ms Vassarotti said.
“Since commencement of the scheme, five additional affected properties have been identified.”
She said it is reasonable to assume that more affected properties could be identified in the ACT after the current scheme cuts off.
“By not continuing a buyback program … it would be inconsistent with the ACT Government’s commitment to eradicate loose-fill asbestos from the ACT residential community.”
Ms Vassarotti said as at the end of April this year, the majority of affected Canberra properties identified by the scheme had been demolished – 992 out of 1,027.
“Of the 35 properties remaining on the affected residential premises register, 11 have been surrendered to the Territory with demolition planning underway,” she said.
Homeowners of the affected properties are required to have an asbestos management plan.
The current scheme began in 2014 and while the ACT Government says it’s “not the preferred option”, it would look to undertake compulsory acquisitions for any remaining affected properties in 2025.
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