Skip to content Skip to main navigation


Part of the Canberra community
for over 30 years

Mr Fluffy – a Parallel

By John Hargreaves - 8 December 2014 22


I got a call from a bloke recently about the plight of someone he knows that has a Mr Fluffy House. He was seeking information on a particular problem facing his friend and didn’t know where to go. I gave him a few ideas.
His issue was that his friend had to rent a house while when his was demolished until he could get into another one, whether it be the same block or another home altogether, neither of which materialise overnight. That wasn’t the issue but finding a rental property where he could take his pair of dogs was. Landlords aren’t all that amenable when it comes to pets.

I remembered that similar problems occurred when people had to find another home whilst rebuilding after the 2003 bushfires.

We remember the trauma the fires themselves delivered but also we remember in the recovery stage, attention was paid to the unique circumstances the 500 families faced. We arranged counselling, gave financial assistance and a range of supports to enable folks to be rehoused temporarily and to get on with their own particular recovery.
Similar circumstances are in play now.

Thanks to the Mr Fluffy debacle, families are traumatised at the idea of losing their beloved homes. This time it is over 1,000 families.

They face the same problems. We need to bring the same solutions to their doorsteps.

Interestingly, a fire is a natural disaster and the feds came to the party in part. This time the best they can do is a low interest loan. Wow, such generosity. Talk about abrogation of culpability!

When self-government was forced on the ACT, the financial handout from the Commonwealth to pay for whole of life costs of assets was minimal, actually nil. The assets of government housing were transferred to the ACT but through a loan to be paid back over many years.

The transfer of governance was accompanied by an abrogation of financial responsibility for the ongoing costs of running the Territory.

So why am I surprised to see the Commonwealth’s attitude to the Mr Fluffy problem. The issue was on their watch. They should be accepting of their responsibility in this regard. The ACT Government should be responsible for the personal welfare of the victims and the Commonwealth should pay for the bricks and mortar rehabilitation of those families.

All this has been said before but the conversation with this bloke brought the 2003 bushfire experience back to me.

What’s Your opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
22 Responses to
Mr Fluffy – a Parallel
Showing only Website comments
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
rubaiyat 12:12 pm 08 Jul 15

Wouldn’t the responsible solution be to simply say the magic words “I’m not a scientist but…” “the jury is still out on asbestosis”, and “we really can’t afford to do anything until Burkino Fasso acts”?

Then sack all the scientists, remove all funding from anyone who disagrees, and never go on Q&A again?

chewy14 10:22 am 08 Jul 15

JC said :

creative_canberran said :

JC said :

The first house clean up was started in MAY 1989. Source this article dated 10th May showing a house wrapped ready to go.|||l-decade=198

The first ACT Government did not SIT and hence come into being until 11th May 1989, which if my maths is right is the day after this article was written.

So quite clearly the method of cleaning was worked out prior to self government, otherwise please explain the article and the picture above?

That isn’t the ‘first’ house, it was a trial house, not the first trial one either. Commonwealth had first experimented with removal of the fluff about three years earlier. They ended up covering a street in asbestos dust when it went badly wrong.

But you are correct, the method that was ultimately used for the bulk of homes, was developed prior to self-government, but it wasn’t chosen yet. On May 11 when they started cleaning that house in the article you link to as a trial, the tenders and contracts for the clean up proper were yet to be done and the exact method was not yet chosen. Hence it was the new ACT Labor Government as I said that decided what the cleaning companies would be contracted to do for the public portion of the clean up.

The “clean up” as we refer to it was actually separate cleans ups over a 5 year period, both public and private. You can generally refer to the public portion, the bulk of homes covered by, as Bloc 1 and Bloc 2. And even after the first contract for was signed, it was a debacle. It was only really with the second clean up contract which covered the bulk of homes and used a better contractor that they started getting their act together and enforcing the proper standard.

Whilst that was indeed a trial, the same ariticle does say:

“The work is to be tendered to licensed contractors with the vacant Scullin house a trial project to test the efficiency of equipment and procedures that contractors will have to use. The pre-qualifled tenderers will be taken through the trial and the contracts are expected to be signed by the end of July, with work to begin in August.”

Note the bit where it says the house was a trial to test the “efficiency of equipment and procedures that contractors will have to use”

Says to me that the processes and methods had already been choose, prior to self government, which is what I’ve been saying all along. Didn’t mention anything about when contracts were signed or the like.


I think you can give up on this one, sounds like Creative Canberran has a bit more in depth knowledge of the process.

Options and trials were obviously being investigated but if the official clean up didn’t begin (and contracts weren’t signed) til afterwards, then the local government is responsible for the option chosen.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Copyright © 2018 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. | |

Search across the site