Skip to content Skip to main navigation

News

Avani Terraces - Greenway
Life is looking up

Buyback and demolition program announced for ACT ‘Mr Fluffy’ homes

By Canfan - 28 October 2014 59

asbestos-stock-010914

More than one thousand Canberra houses affected by ‘Mr Fluffy’ loose fill asbestos insulation will be bought and demolished by the ACT Government following an in principle agreement with the Commonwealth Government, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher announced today.

The Commonwealth will offer to provide the ACT with a $1 billion concessional loan towards the cost of the program. The Chief Minister also released the report by the Asbestos Response Taskforce on the Long Term Management of Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation in Canberra Homes, which recommends the demolition of these homes as the only enduring solution.

“It is a clear recommendation from the asbestos taskforce report that the only way to solve the Mr Fluffy saga once and for all is to demolish affected houses. For Mr Fluffy homeowners, we believe this program will offer a fair and flexible solution which will remove the risk of loose fill asbestos not only to homeowners and tenants, but to the broader community,” the Chief Minister said.

“This is a significant undertaking. We are talking about the purchase and demolition of 1021 residential properties across many of Canberra’s established suburbs.

“Financing this work will cost up to $1 billion, with an expected net cost in the hundreds of millions. Due to the magnitude of this program we have asked for the Commonwealth Government’s assistance to undertake this important work.

“These negotiations have taken some time, which I know has been incredibly hard on the homeowners, but I am pleased to advise the Commonwealth has accepted the Taskforce advice and agreed to provide a loan to underwrite the buyback scheme.

“Whilst the ACT Government did not get the assistance we had asked for, I thank Senator Eric Abetz and Commonwealth officials for their professional and compassionate approach to this issue.
“Today’s announcement will give these homeowners confidence that the buyback will go ahead and that is the most important part of today’s announcement.”

The Chief Minister said the buyback scheme had been developed by the Asbestos Response Taskforce to provide a fair outcome for owners of affected homes and, as far as possible, flexibility and information so homeowners could make informed choices.

“Any program also needs to minimise the overall cost to the Canberra community while supporting affected homeowners at the same time.”

The Chief Minister said participation in the scheme was voluntary. Through the program houses will be valued as if they were not affected by loose fill asbestos.

The Taskforce will work with homeowners wanting to remain in their houses on necessary medium term hazard reduction and risk management requirements, but long term habitation is not practicable or safe.

Once houses are demolished and blocks of land remediated, blocks will be made available to be for re- sale, with the original homeowner given the first option to buy back the block for their own occupation.

“We understand that many homeowners have indicated a preference to return to their block in the future. We have worked to balance this desire with mitigating the cost of this program to the rest of the community,” the Chief Minister said.

The Chief Minister said community support throughout this program will be important and detail will be provided throughout the program to ensure all residents are aware of activity and progress.
“The Taskforce will also be arranging a number of community forums and drop-in sessions to allow questions on the technical elements of the program to be discussed in greater detail,” the Chief Minister concluded.

Details of how the demolition and buyback scheme will work will be released next week with a view to finalising prior to the scheme becoming operational in January next year.
In the meantime emergency assistance continues to be available through the taskforce.

The taskforce report is available on its website: www.act.gov.au/asbestos-response-taskforce

(Katy Gallagher Media Release)

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
59 Responses to
Buyback and demolition program announced for ACT ‘Mr Fluffy’ homes
Tezza7420 9:00 am 29 Oct 14

rommeldog56 – I agree with everything that you have written – especially that the ACT Government has mishandled this issue for the last couple of decades and especially the last ten years. I had thought you were referring to the Commonwealth’s walking away from their implicit obligations in allowing the use of loose fill asbestos, the setting up of the first removal program and any residual liability when passing responsibility on the ACT Government when it was created.

As for the man made vs natural disasters, I agree with you on this also. I’m sure others can think of equivalent scale man made scenarios but I can’t. I bet though that the outcome would have been different if this had occurred in central or North shore Sydney.

dungfungus – I agree that it has turned out to be bad luck for the affected homeowners and tenants. In the ACT though, most of these people have been caught up in this solely because of poor or no information from the ACT Government as to the contamination – despite their becoming increasingly aware of how far this contamination went.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 8:56 am 29 Oct 14

TheWolf said :

This morning my elderly neghbours with a fluffy house said the 1 billion will fund low intetest loans for the fluffy owners to sell up and buy new houses. So that’s not ‘free’ at all.

It’s also not correct at all.

dungfungus 7:20 am 29 Oct 14

Tezza7420 said :

rommeldog56 said :

Whilst I am happy for the affected homeowners, the acceptance of this “offer” by the Fed’s once again underlines the hopeless fiscal and economic management of the current ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t.

So, let me get this right.

1) The Feds are almost certainly co-responsible for the Mr fluffy situation. I’ve heard many Lawyers say that.

2) The Feds contribution is a big loan at concessional interest rates – but that will not have much if any, adverse impact on the Federal budget situation.

3) The resultant shortfall to be made up by the ACT Gov’t – and so by ACT Ratepayers – will apparently be M$200-300.

Yeah. Sounds like a great deal for the ACT to me Katy !

How are u going to fund the shortfall ?

Increase Annual Rates and all other ACT Gov’t charges even more than you already are ?

Declare how much those increases will be then. Come to think of it, the Annual Rates increases are more like a bottomless pit I suppose – so why not !

If the Feds are co responsible – why doesn’t the ACT gov’t reject that offer and fund a class action against the Fed’s by Mr Fluffy affected homeowners ?

This is not a good outcome for ACT Ratepayers.

And good luck to affected homeowners in “negotiating” a market price for their affected homes.

This buyback is likely to be a festering sore for years to come.

It’s just far too easy for this ACT Gov’t to roll over on issues nowdays and/or make poor fiscal decisions and pass the costs onto all ACT Ratepayers, I’m afraid. Groan…….

Do you really think that a Liberal Federal Government was going to provide any assistance to the ACT over this if at all possible? Many Fluffy families are suffering severe financial and psychological hardships over this issue and it is impossible for anyone to move on with their lives without incurring massive financial losses. I very much doubt that the ACT Government would have gained any ground if they had made Fluffy owners hold out for another year for what would have been the same outcome.

Personally, I think it’s disgusting that the Federal Government is not contributing towards this disaster. Other Governments have helped homeowners affected by fire and floods – including people who were insured – and have taxed the nation accordingly. Fluffy owners in the ACT and elsewhere though will get no such national assistance.

With the greatest respect, the Mr Fluffy problem is solely the problem of the home owners concerned.
It is plain “bad luck” that they find themselves in this position and they should sort it out themselves without any financial assistance from taxpayers.
As someone else has pointed out on this thread the Mr Fluffy debacle is not a natural disaster and accordingly does not warrant any governmental financial assistance.
I don’t like the way my house is sited according to where the sun shines so does this entitle me to get the taxpayer to build me a new house? Of course it doesn’t.
If you insist on apportioning liability onto a government entity you should direct your ire to the ACT Government that botched the “free” asbestos removal job on the same houses 20 years ago.
I am not happy that the ACT Chief Minister has accepted a huge loan which will require an equally huge bureaucracy to run it with little likelihood of recovering any money based on this government’s track record on administering similar schemes.

TheWolf 11:11 pm 28 Oct 14

This morning my elderly neghbours with a fluffy house said the 1 billion will fund low intetest loans for the fluffy owners to sell up and buy new houses. So that’s not ‘free’ at all.

Reprobate 10:40 pm 28 Oct 14

If one good thing can come out of the Mr Fluffy mess, please let it be that light rail is now given the flick and those funds be diverted to cover the Commonwealth shortfall. There is no way known that we can fund both of these huge financial commitments simultaneously over the next 10 years!

rommeldog56 10:34 pm 28 Oct 14

Tezza7420 said :

rommeldog56 said :

Whilst I am happy for the affected homeowners, the acceptance of this “offer” by the Fed’s once again underlines the hopeless fiscal and economic management of the current ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t.

So, let me get this right.

1) The Feds are almost certainly co-responsible for the Mr fluffy situation. I’ve heard many Lawyers say that.

2) The Feds contribution is a big loan at concessional interest rates – but that will not have much if any, adverse impact on the Federal budget situation.

3) The resultant shortfall to be made up by the ACT Gov’t – and so by ACT Ratepayers – will apparently be M$200-300.

Yeah. Sounds like a great deal for the ACT to me Katy !

How are u going to fund the shortfall ?

Increase Annual Rates and all other ACT Gov’t charges even more than you already are ?

Declare how much those increases will be then. Come to think of it, the Annual Rates increases are more like a bottomless pit I suppose – so why not !

If the Feds are co responsible – why doesn’t the ACT gov’t reject that offer and fund a class action against the Fed’s by Mr Fluffy affected homeowners ?

This is not a good outcome for ACT Ratepayers.

And good luck to affected homeowners in “negotiating” a market price for their affected homes.

This buyback is likely to be a festering sore for years to come.

It’s just far too easy for this ACT Gov’t to roll over on issues nowdays and/or make poor fiscal decisions and pass the costs onto all ACT Ratepayers, I’m afraid. Groan…….

Do you really think that a Liberal Federal Government was going to provide any assistance to the ACT over this if at all possible? Many Fluffy families are suffering severe financial and psychological hardships over this issue and it is impossible for anyone to move on with their lives without incurring massive financial losses. I very much doubt that the ACT Government would have gained any ground if they had made Fluffy owners hold out for another year for what would have been the same outcome.

Personally, I think it’s disgusting that the Federal Government is not contributing towards this disaster. Other Governments have helped homeowners affected by fire and floods – including people who were insured – and have taxed the nation accordingly. Fluffy owners in the ACT and elsewhere though will get no such national assistance.

Tezza7420 :

1) Given that it happened during the reign of the Feds over Canberra, then yes – I thought that the deal would be much better than we got. Given that it was a lay down mizare that the feds are responsible – I stunned disgusted at the piss poor deal that the ACT Govt got on behalf of all ACT Ratepayers.

2) Fire and floods are natural disasters. The Mr fluffy disaster is man made – aided and abetted by the Feds at that time.

As i recall, the current ACT Chief Minister, in an earlier role in a past ACT Labor Gov’t, recveived reports about the asbestos threat, but little action was taken I think. I wonder if that inaction would have played into the Feds hands re assessing liability and hence, the settlement released today.

Tezza7420 9:20 pm 28 Oct 14

rommeldog56 said :

Whilst I am happy for the affected homeowners, the acceptance of this “offer” by the Fed’s once again underlines the hopeless fiscal and economic management of the current ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t.

So, let me get this right.

1) The Feds are almost certainly co-responsible for the Mr fluffy situation. I’ve heard many Lawyers say that.

2) The Feds contribution is a big loan at concessional interest rates – but that will not have much if any, adverse impact on the Federal budget situation.

3) The resultant shortfall to be made up by the ACT Gov’t – and so by ACT Ratepayers – will apparently be M$200-300.

Yeah. Sounds like a great deal for the ACT to me Katy !

How are u going to fund the shortfall ?

Increase Annual Rates and all other ACT Gov’t charges even more than you already are ?

Declare how much those increases will be then. Come to think of it, the Annual Rates increases are more like a bottomless pit I suppose – so why not !

If the Feds are co responsible – why doesn’t the ACT gov’t reject that offer and fund a class action against the Fed’s by Mr Fluffy affected homeowners ?

This is not a good outcome for ACT Ratepayers.

And good luck to affected homeowners in “negotiating” a market price for their affected homes.

This buyback is likely to be a festering sore for years to come.

It’s just far too easy for this ACT Gov’t to roll over on issues nowdays and/or make poor fiscal decisions and pass the costs onto all ACT Ratepayers, I’m afraid. Groan…….

Do you really think that a Liberal Federal Government was going to provide any assistance to the ACT over this if at all possible? Many Fluffy families are suffering severe financial and psychological hardships over this issue and it is impossible for anyone to move on with their lives without incurring massive financial losses. I very much doubt that the ACT Government would have gained any ground if they had made Fluffy owners hold out for another year for what would have been the same outcome.

Personally, I think it’s disgusting that the Federal Government is not contributing towards this disaster. Other Governments have helped homeowners affected by fire and floods – including people who were insured – and have taxed the nation accordingly. Fluffy owners in the ACT and elsewhere though will get no such national assistance.

Tezza7420 9:13 pm 28 Oct 14

HenryBG said :

My relative lives in Mr Fluffy a house. She is right now laughing her head off at her good luck. She was about to spend over half a million knocking down some walls and modernising it. Now she has it done for her for free by the suckers.

How are you able to be so naive! I’m starting to think that you’re relative is fictitious or has no idea what is coming for them. Equally though, if they have $500k to chuck at “renovations”, they are not a typical fluffy owner.

I doubt that any well informed fluffy owner is thrilled with this outcome. (Many will be relieved that there is a way out of this mess but it is certainly not a windfall). They will get average market value for their property – which they will have to give up. If they want to try to buy back half (or less) of their now empty block, they will have to find alternative accommodation for a year or so during the demolition, remediation, planning and rebuilding process, and come up with the money for their rebuild. More likely, most will simply move away or try to buy something in the same area in what will be an increasingly competitive market. It is not clear what will happen to contents in houses or whether people will be compensated for moving costs and legal costs – although, if they buy in the ACT, they will get exemption from ever decreasing stamp duties.

I have read many ill informed posts by you on this Fluffy issue. The only time I have responded explaining why you are incorrect, you stopped posting. No doubt you will do the same this time as well – or is this observation sufficient bait for you to continue to embarrass yourself?

wildturkeycanoe 8:55 pm 28 Oct 14

watto23 said :

I’m trying to work out why each house will cost a million to knock down and rebuild. I mean it seems a lot to me. A lot of the cost is in the land purchase for a new home and allowing for cleanups etc, I’d have thought $500k each a fair amount.

Most of the money will go into the labor costs of the asbestos removal companies. There are only so many people qualified to do it and it isn’t cheap when you consider not only the time, materials and skills to do the job safely, but the costs of disposing of the material.
Imagine the houses were contaminated not with asbestos, but nuclear radioactive waste. How do you get rid of it quickly, safely and cheaply? You don’t. That’s why asbestos is such a bad naturally occurring mineral and should have never been used for anything at all.

chewy14 8:54 pm 28 Oct 14

watto23 said :

I’m trying to work out why each house will cost a million to knock down and rebuild. I mean it seems a lot to me. A lot of the cost is in the land purchase for a new home and allowing for cleanups etc, I’d have thought $500k each a fair amount.

I’d be curious as well what will be built to replace a property, knocked down. A similar sized place or a bigger one? I don’t begrudge the people who lived in these places getting something, just not sure what is fair and what isn’t.

Also a loan from the feds sounds like they are getting off lightly when it was mostly their fault IMO. The lack of action lies on both but the removal was a federal exercise and it was done poorly.

its the cost for buying the houses and the cleanup, so say $600k per house to buy and $400k for full demolition and remediation. Sounds about right.

The government will then sell the empty land with first option given to the previous owners.

watto23 8:15 pm 28 Oct 14

I’m trying to work out why each house will cost a million to knock down and rebuild. I mean it seems a lot to me. A lot of the cost is in the land purchase for a new home and allowing for cleanups etc, I’d have thought $500k each a fair amount.

I’d be curious as well what will be built to replace a property, knocked down. A similar sized place or a bigger one? I don’t begrudge the people who lived in these places getting something, just not sure what is fair and what isn’t.

Also a loan from the feds sounds like they are getting off lightly when it was mostly their fault IMO. The lack of action lies on both but the removal was a federal exercise and it was done poorly.

HenryBG 7:13 pm 28 Oct 14

My relative lives in Mr Fluffy a house. She is right now laughing her head off at her good luck. She was about to spend over half a million knocking down some walls and modernising it. Now she has it done for her for free by the suckers.

HenryBG 7:10 pm 28 Oct 14

And this is the reason some of us pay so much in so many different taxes – we have this ridiculous, bloated toad of a government that insists on sloshing taxpayer dollars around on wasteful exercises such as this one.

Instead of wasting a billion dollars on giving a very small number of people a sudden windfall profit, they could give every Canberra household free electricity for 2 and a half years.

It’s moments like this I want to join the teaparty.

rommeldog56 6:51 pm 28 Oct 14

Whilst I am happy for the affected homeowners, the acceptance of this “offer” by the Fed’s once again underlines the hopeless fiscal and economic management of the current ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t.

So, let me get this right.

1) The Feds are almost certainly co-responsible for the Mr fluffy situation. I’ve heard many Lawyers say that.

2) The Feds contribution is a big loan at concessional interest rates – but that will not have much if any, adverse impact on the Federal budget situation.

3) The resultant shortfall to be made up by the ACT Gov’t – and so by ACT Ratepayers – will apparently be M$200-300.

Yeah. Sounds like a great deal for the ACT to me Katy ! How are u going to fund the shortfall ? Increase Annual Rates and all other ACT Gov’t charges even more than you already are ? Declare how much those increases will be then. Come to think of it, the Annual Rates increases are more like a bottomless pit I suppose – so why not !

If the Feds are co responsible – why doesn’t the ACT gov’t reject that offer and fund a class action against the Fed’s by Mr Fluffy affected homeowners ?

This is not a good outcome for ACT Ratepayers.

And good luck to affected homeowners in “negotiating” a market price for their affected homes. This buyback is likely to be a festering sore for years to come.

It’s just far too easy for this ACT Gov’t to roll over on issues nowdays and/or make poor fiscal decisions and pass the costs onto all ACT Ratepayers, I’m afraid. Groan…….

HiddenDragon 5:44 pm 28 Oct 14

Aside from anything else, this will create quite a lot of work around the town, thus diminishing the case for pump-priming projects which are otherwise of questionable value. Commonwealth assistance in the form of a concessional loan will, hopefully, underline this and point in the direction of fiscal sobriety.

1 2 3 4

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site