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Thursday, December 3, 2020
Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts

Loose-fill asbestos found in Curtin home

A home in Curtin has been found to be contaminated with Mr Fluffy loose-fill asbestos.

In July this year, a tradesperson made the discovery in the roof cavity of the home, finding the loose-fill asbestos had been covered by additional insulation, meaning it wouldn’t have been detected in any previous visual inspection.

The owners of the Curtin home are eligible to participate in the ACT Government’s loose-fill asbestos buyback concession scheme, which will result in the demolition of the property.

ACT Government Deputy Director-General for Sustainability and the Built Environment, Geoffrey Rutledge, told ABC Radio Canberra’s Breakfast on 2 September the discovery was made during renovation works.

“Rather than being pumped into the roof … this may have been someone who bought a few bags and laid it out themselves, and then covered it with a different insulation.

“The asbestos testing within the home found that it wasn’t in the living areas, but what we do know with this asbestos is it does, every time the house moves, it shifts into cavities and into the sub-floor.”

Mr Rutledge said other instances where similar cases of Mr Fluffy installation have occurred are likely.

“I would say the chances are there will be a future renovation, a tradesman will be crawling in a roof … spots it and does what the tradesman did in this home and reports it.”

Mr Rutledge denied it would be necessary for the ACT Government to conduct a further review or secondary audit to pick up any other cases of Mr Fluffy asbestos.

“We’ve done comprehensive audits, 65,000 homes checked, we’ve retested every list that could be provided.

“We know that during the 1980s, 65,000 homes were visually inspected … I don’t know if this house was visually inspected at the time, but, as I said, a visual inspection wouldn’t have shown this up.

“The chances are as we’ve found with this one, there would have been some people at the time that were trying to do the right thing and insulate their own homes that haven’t been picked up yet.”

This latest discovery is only the second additional one in Canberra since the scheme was announced in October 2014.

Under the Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme, the ACT Government has acquired, demolished and safely disposed of affected homes, remediating the blocks and then reselling them.

Currently 979 of the 1,024 affected homes have been demolished.

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