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Ex-Fluffy contract worker raises looting allegations

By Charlotte Harper - 12 May 2016 24

Mr Fluffy

UnionsACT is calling for the immediate suspension of all Mr Fluffy demolition work and contracts in light of allegations by an ex-worker that his former employer looted asbestos-tainted material from homes set for demolition.

UnionsACT and the CFMEU have called on the ACT Government to conduct an urgent inquiry into the allegations and to “initiate a criminal investigation into the contractors implicated in alleged looting, including the possibility of charges of reckless endangerment”.

The Asbestos Taskforce has referred the matter to ACT Policing.

UnionsACT Secretary Alex White said the Government and Worksafe ACT should take urgent action to halt demolitions, suspend licenses and conduct an inquiry into how this has happened.

“We are also calling on the Government to initiate a criminal investigation into the companies involved,” he said.

“It is appalling to think that the contractors involved not only thought they could get away with looting Mr. Fluffy houses, but that they were prepared to put the community at grave risk of exposure to asbestos.”

An article in The Canberra Times today reports that material including household possessions and whitegoods was removed from Mr Fluffy properties without proper risk assessments or approval from the regulator.

Former residents of Mr Fluffy homes had in some cases been forced to leave household goods and personal items, including children’s toys, behind when they moved out due to potential contamination.

UnionsACT expressed its concern for those families, and about a potential risk of exposure for workers who may have been involved in the removal of such items from homes. It also raised concerns for anyone else who has already or may come into contact with the items subsequently.

In a statement this morning, UnionsACT called on the Asbestos Taskforce to “urgently determine the proper location of all material removed from Mr. Fluffy properties.”

“If asbestos tainted items have been looted from Mr. Fluffy houses, this would be a serious betrayal of trust by the contractors involved,” it said.

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24 Responses to
Ex-Fluffy contract worker raises looting allegations
wildturkeycanoe 6:44 am 16 May 16

farnarkler said :

Zan said :

Absolutely amazing how such an elementary and obvious problem gets subverted by gobsmacking ignorance portraying itself as considered and informed insight.

.

OK, so here’s your challenge: quantify the risk of living in a Fluffy house.

The known quantified risk that I am aware of comes from Wittenoom, where breathing in *millions* of fibres *daily* over *10 years* gives a 50% chance of mesothelioma.

…and that was blue asbestos, which is known to be many, many times more dangerous than the stuff Fluffy used.

So because the risk is small, it is acceptable to continue doing it? Using any risk assessment method, regardless what kind, if the possible outcome is death and the exposure is long term [every day], the result of the assessment would be to eliminate the risk altogether.Food products and chemicals with similar risks will be removed from sale immediately upon finding evidence that they can cause death. So we should simply ignore this because the risk is small? Tell that to any person who ends up dying in a decade’s time, explain to their family that “the risks were acceptable” so the government did nothing about it. When a non-treatable disease is totally preventable and we decide to do nothing about it, it completely undoes everything that Bernie Banton fought for to his dying breath.

HenryBG 2:28 pm 15 May 16

Zan said :

Absolutely amazing how such an elementary and obvious problem gets subverted by gobsmacking ignorance portraying itself as considered and informed insight.

.

OK, so here’s your challenge: quantify the risk of living in a Fluffy house.

The known quantified risk that I am aware of comes from Wittenoom, where breathing in *millions* of fibres *daily* over *10 years* gives a 50% chance of mesothelioma.

…and that was blue asbestos, which is known to be many, many times more dangerous than the stuff Fluffy used.

HenryBG 2:25 pm 15 May 16

Curiousjoe said :

… they have all had over two years of hell ….. Families have been destroyed, householders, and especially children, lost friends (either from stigma or distance after moving) and people have lost huge amounts of money on past renovations and lost contents.
….. these Fluffy owners are living on a roller coaster.

People move houses all the time. It isn’t “hell” and it doesn’t “destroy families”. It is a very normal part of living your life.

As for this “stigma”…..seriously?

They are being *very* generously bailed out by the government.
Normal people who suffer an uninsured loss don’t get bailed out. These guys have hit the jackpot.
The government doesn’t just create money, they take from all of us, and are supposed to spend it on schools, hospitals and roads. Bailing out people who had the misfortune to make an inopportune property investment is nice for those people, but it reduces what we have available to spend on Public Good.
And instead of counting their lucky stars, a minority of these fluffy owners are screaming out for more.

rubaiyat 10:08 am 14 May 16

Absolutely amazing how such an elementary and obvious problem gets subverted by gobsmacking ignorance portraying itself as considered and informed insight.

Asbestos has no particular magic power. The asbestos fibres are inert and made of a material that generally does no harm EXCEPT that they are incredibly fine, so fine crystals that they can penetrate and damage cells, particularly getting caught in the deeper pockets of your lungs because they float in the air and are readily breathed in never to be expelled.

This fact has been well known and documented for over a hundred years. The British parliament legislated against asbestos back in the 1920s after the first horrible deaths that resulted from contact with asbestos.

There are many major problems that affect us in the modern world, damaged environment, out of control consumerism, dietary, and health issues such as drugs, vaccination and here the response to severe pollutants and biohazards. They all have one feature in the attempts to correct them, we come up a against a wall of cynical stupidity and poor education. There has taken hold a notion that one man’s guesswork is as good as all the best research and careful investigation.

The hundreds of years since the enlightenment and rationalism took us out of the dark ages seems to being thrown out the window. Stupidity is the new black!

I just watched a report on the out of control obesity epidemic in Australia. What parent would put their hand up and say they wanted to ruin their child’s life and put them in mortal danger, but if you speak up against what they are in fact doing to their children You are the bad guy, just as when anyone takes a strong stand against smoking, spitting, drunkenness or any other obvious damaging social practice.

How on Earth can you take the morally reprehensible step and totally dumb stand against asbestos clean up that has flooded these posts? No wonder all the mindless zombie movies are so popular today, it is just a take on the threat that rampant stupidity has become on modern civilisation.

rubaiyat 9:34 am 14 May 16

madelini said :

I cannot believe the ignorance of the general public.
“What a hysterical over reaction!”
“Nobody has actually quantified what the risk is, if any.”
“the risk of living in a Mr fluffy house is very very small”

If you had done the asbestos awareness course, mandatory for anybody working in jobs with possible exposure to asbestos in any form through direct contact, you would know the real story.
It only takes one tiny hair-like fibre of the right kind of asbestos to mutate in your lungs and you have a death sentence. Sure, the risk of getting that fibre by walking through a house that has it concealed in its walls or ceiling might be tiny, but think of it this way. If you had a house that had an infestation of funnel web spiders living in the walls and ceiling, would you not do everything possible to eradicate them? They may not come out into the open very often, being shy creatures, but just one bite could kill your child. Is it not worth removing ANY risk of being exposed to such a deadly threat?

In the ten years, maybe twenty years a person lived in a Mr. Fluffy home, how many times has a new down light been installed? How often has a renovation removed a wall or added an ensuite? The process of doing so releases these fibres into the rest of the house. They could sit idly in a corner for years before a kid’s teddy bear lands on the skirting, transferring to the cuddly animal which then gets held so closely to the child’s face when putting them to bed. Some 20 years later they develop what seems to be asthma, but doesn’t respond to medication. Eventually tests discover it is lung cancer brought on by a single microscopic strand of asbestos that sat quietly in the wall cavity till an electrician put in a dimmer switch and didn’t clean the mess from the floor.
About 600 people a year are diagnosed with mesothelioma. To put it into perspective, that is about half the number of road deaths. This is not something to be taken lightly at all, remembering that it only takes one strand to give you a death sentence twenty, thirty or maybe forty years later.

At last we finally have a point of agreement wildturkeycanoe although I would go beyond classifying this as ignorance, I would use stupidity.

Asbestos has no other magic property than the incredible fineness of its fibres

wildturkeycanoe 7:54 am 14 May 16

I cannot believe the ignorance of the general public.
“What a hysterical over reaction!”
“Nobody has actually quantified what the risk is, if any.”
“the risk of living in a Mr fluffy house is very very small”

If you had done the asbestos awareness course, mandatory for anybody working in jobs with possible exposure to asbestos in any form through direct contact, you would know the real story.
It only takes one tiny hair-like fibre of the right kind of asbestos to mutate in your lungs and you have a death sentence. Sure, the risk of getting that fibre by walking through a house that has it concealed in its walls or ceiling might be tiny, but think of it this way. If you had a house that had an infestation of funnel web spiders living in the walls and ceiling, would you not do everything possible to eradicate them? They may not come out into the open very often, being shy creatures, but just one bite could kill your child. Is it not worth removing ANY risk of being exposed to such a deadly threat?

In the ten years, maybe twenty years a person lived in a Mr. Fluffy home, how many times has a new down light been installed? How often has a renovation removed a wall or added an ensuite? The process of doing so releases these fibres into the rest of the house. They could sit idly in a corner for years before a kid’s teddy bear lands on the skirting, transferring to the cuddly animal which then gets held so closely to the child’s face when putting them to bed. Some 20 years later they develop what seems to be asthma, but doesn’t respond to medication. Eventually tests discover it is lung cancer brought on by a single microscopic strand of asbestos that sat quietly in the wall cavity till an electrician put in a dimmer switch and didn’t clean the mess from the floor.
About 600 people a year are diagnosed with mesothelioma. To put it into perspective, that is about half the number of road deaths. This is not something to be taken lightly at all, remembering that it only takes one strand to give you a death sentence twenty, thirty or maybe forty years later.

Tezza7420 9:07 pm 13 May 16

Masquara said :

gooterz said :

This issue underlines what a bunch of hysterical nanny state people we have running the ACT.

Thousands of people lived in those home for decades without problems. Thousands of people have moved millions of objects in and out of those houses over the decades. Is the government going to want to track down every object that has been into one of those homes and just might be “contaminated”?

One day the government decided that everyone should leave everything and run screaming from these homes. Like your house was Chernobyl ground zero. What a hysterical over reaction!

If you are 60 or above you are immune to asbestos. You are going to die of old age before asbestos get you.

This whole things is a massive over reaction piling more debt into the ACT Gov balance sheet. Everyone appears to believe that the fairy godmother (AKA the Federal Government) will come and bail us out before our credit rating falls, cost of finance rises and the bankers start the asset sales. Imagine how expensive it will be once Canberra Hospital is run by Macquarie Bank (or similar.) The debt is a much bigger threat to people than trace amounts of asbestos.

Agreed.
Living in a fluffy house, you are probably more more at risk of being killed by a lightning strike than catching asbestosis.
Nobody has actually quantified what the risk is, if any.
The highly generous government bailout to the people who own Fluffy homes is something I can almost deal with, but the endless whingeing they carry out, demanding even more handouts is completely unacceptable.

Are you trolling every time you post on Fluffy issues or are you deadly serious! I have seen posts where you have ridiculed photos of home owners in protective gear trying to salvage some of their contents, your opinion that there was no blue asbestos in these houses, your opinion that Fluffy owners knew about the risks when they bought their houses (or was it you that suggested they bought their houses at huge discounts) and your opinion that Fluffy owners made a motza out of the buyback scheme. I have seen your comments implying that Fluffy owners are convinced they will get an asbestos related disease or that they just want more money.

Have some sympathy for goodness sake! Over the years these people received minimal, if any, information from the Government and now they have all had over two years of hell through no fault of their own. Families have been destroyed, householders, and especially children, lost friends (either from stigma or distance after moving) and people have lost huge amounts of money on past renovations and lost contents.

I think that you need to remember that every Fluffy story is different. Some are broke, renting and unable to buy a house. Others look at their children wondering if they will get sick, physically or psychologically.

On top of this, these Fluffy owners are living on a roller coaster. There are regular reports of Government cockups, such as this latest one, which forces them to relive their experience.

Perhaps some made the experience a positive by moving to the next stage of their life but I doubt anyone made money. It would help these people if you showed some balance in your posts as most just want community recognition and support and every post of yours goes towards them feeling that they haven’t been heard.

Oh and people don’t “catch” asbestosis. It’s not a cold!

HenryBG 2:13 pm 13 May 16

gooterz said :

This issue underlines what a bunch of hysterical nanny state people we have running the ACT.

Thousands of people lived in those home for decades without problems. Thousands of people have moved millions of objects in and out of those houses over the decades. Is the government going to want to track down every object that has been into one of those homes and just might be “contaminated”?

One day the government decided that everyone should leave everything and run screaming from these homes. Like your house was Chernobyl ground zero. What a hysterical over reaction!

If you are 60 or above you are immune to asbestos. You are going to die of old age before asbestos get you.

This whole things is a massive over reaction piling more debt into the ACT Gov balance sheet. Everyone appears to believe that the fairy godmother (AKA the Federal Government) will come and bail us out before our credit rating falls, cost of finance rises and the bankers start the asset sales. Imagine how expensive it will be once Canberra Hospital is run by Macquarie Bank (or similar.) The debt is a much bigger threat to people than trace amounts of asbestos.

Agreed.
Living in a fluffy house, you are probably more more at risk of being killed by a lightning strike than catching asbestosis.
Nobody has actually quantified what the risk is, if any.
The highly generous government bailout to the people who own Fluffy homes is something I can almost deal with, but the endless whingeing they carry out, demanding even more handouts is completely unacceptable.

JC 1:44 pm 13 May 16

No_Nose said :

Nov 6, 2015 – … contractors and with oversight from WorkSafe ACT, will safely demolish houses affected by ‘Mr Fluffy’ loose fill asbestos in the next few year.

Obviously the above isn’t happening.

The demolition was supposed to be highly supervised. What the have Worksafe been doing ? How do you loot when things are highly supervised ?
.

Oversight doesn’t mean highly supervised. You employ contractors who know what they are doing. If it is shown they are doing wrong get rid of them and ensure they never do this work again.

JC 1:42 pm 13 May 16

gooterz said :

This issue underlines what a bunch of hysterical nanny state people we have running the ACT.

Thousands of people lived in those home for decades without problems. Thousands of people have moved millions of objects in and out of those houses over the decades. Is the government going to want to track down every object that has been into one of those homes and just might be “contaminated”?

One day the government decided that everyone should leave everything and run screaming from these homes. Like your house was Chernobyl ground zero. What a hysterical over reaction!

If you are 60 or above you are immune to asbestos. You are going to die of old age before asbestos get you.

This whole things is a massive over reaction piling more debt into the ACT Gov balance sheet. Everyone appears to believe that the fairy godmother (AKA the Federal Government) will come and bail us out before our credit rating falls, cost of finance rises and the bankers start the asset sales. Imagine how expensive it will be once Canberra Hospital is run by Macquarie Bank (or similar.) The debt is a much bigger threat to people than trace amounts of asbestos.

Yes and no. The problem isn’t the government, the problem is peoples/community attitudes. All nonsense aside, as you mention the risk of living in a Mr fluffy house is very very small, and increased when work is done in areas where residual insulation may reside.

However all it needs is for just ONE person down the track to be able to prove they got asbestosis or mesothelioma from a Fluffy house and people will be up in arms saying the government never did enough. Kind of essentially what people are now saying about the first clean-up operation.

Basically its a no win situation for everyone, government, owners and the community. What is the alternative bury heads in the sand?

MERC600 12:53 pm 13 May 16

gooterz said :

This issue underlines what a bunch of hysterical nanny state people we have running the ACT.

Thousands of people lived in those home for decades without problems. Thousands of people have moved millions of objects in and out of those houses over the decades. Is the government going to want to track down every object that has been into one of those homes and just might be “contaminated”?

One day the government decided that everyone should leave everything and run screaming from these homes. Like your house was Chernobyl ground zero. What a hysterical over reaction!

If you are 60 or above you are immune to asbestos. You are going to die of old age before asbestos get you.

This whole things is a massive over reaction piling more debt into the ACT Gov balance sheet. Everyone appears to believe that the fairy godmother (AKA the Federal Government) will come and bail us out before our credit rating falls, cost of finance rises and the bankers start the asset sales. Imagine how expensive it will be once Canberra Hospital is run by Macquarie Bank (or similar.) The debt is a much bigger threat to people than trace amounts of asbestos.

Well put Mark “” Thousands of people have moved millions of objects in and out of those houses over the decades. Is the government going to want to track down every object that has been into one of those homes and just might be “contaminated”?””

rubaiyat 9:33 am 13 May 16

gooterz said :

This issue underlines what a bunch of hysterical nanny state people we have running the ACT.

Thousands of people lived in those home for decades without problems. Thousands of people have moved millions of objects in and out of those houses over the decades. Is the government going to want to track down every object that has been into one of those homes and just might be “contaminated”?

One day the government decided that everyone should leave everything and run screaming from these homes. Like your house was Chernobyl ground zero. What a hysterical over reaction!

If you are 60 or above you are immune to asbestos. You are going to die of old age before asbestos get you.

This whole things is a massive over reaction piling more debt into the ACT Gov balance sheet. Everyone appears to believe that the fairy godmother (AKA the Federal Government) will come and bail us out before our credit rating falls, cost of finance rises and the bankers start the asset sales. Imagine how expensive it will be once Canberra Hospital is run by Macquarie Bank (or similar.) The debt is a much bigger threat to people than trace amounts of asbestos.

Immune to asbestos!?

What kind of a ninny state are we living in?

gazket 10:21 pm 12 May 16

This is the point of bringing in an asbestos ticket.

Workers have asbestos tickets and now know the dangers so we won’t have to supervise anything we just blame the worker.

gazket 10:18 pm 12 May 16

Nov 6, 2015 – … contractors and with oversight from WorkSafe ACT, will safely demolish houses affected by ‘Mr Fluffy’ loose fill asbestos in the next few year.

Obviously the above isn’t happening.

The demolition was supposed to be highly supervised. What the have Worksafe been doing ? How do you loot when things are highly supervised ?

ACT gov supervised the removal of families from their houses then relieve themselves of any more responsability to save money on what they stole from people.

MarkE 8:18 pm 12 May 16

This issue underlines what a bunch of hysterical nanny state people we have running the ACT.

Thousands of people lived in those home for decades without problems. Thousands of people have moved millions of objects in and out of those houses over the decades. Is the government going to want to track down every object that has been into one of those homes and just might be “contaminated”?

One day the government decided that everyone should leave everything and run screaming from these homes. Like your house was Chernobyl ground zero. What a hysterical over reaction!

If you are 60 or above you are immune to asbestos. You are going to die of old age before asbestos get you.

This whole things is a massive over reaction piling more debt into the ACT Gov balance sheet. Everyone appears to believe that the fairy godmother (AKA the Federal Government) will come and bail us out before our credit rating falls, cost of finance rises and the bankers start the asset sales. Imagine how expensive it will be once Canberra Hospital is run by Macquarie Bank (or similar.) The debt is a much bigger threat to people than trace amounts of asbestos.

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