More than 300 homeowners have already registered to have their homes valued as part of the ACT Government’s buyback program for houses affected by loose fill ‘Mr Fluffy’ asbestos insulation.
Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the registration of almost a third of homeowners (318 out of 1021) by close of business on Friday was a positive response, as most only received the formal paperwork on Monday.
“The Asbestos Response Taskforce reports there has been a high level of interest and engagement from homeowners wanting to progress to the next stages of the buyback and demolition program,” the Chief Minister said.
“I’m pleased to see so many homeowners signing up so quickly. I hope this process is providing them with some comfort and certainty after what has been an extremely difficult year for so many.
“I recognise some homeowners are not happy with the current offer from the ACT Government, but overall I am confident that the buyback offer is fair and affordable.
Valuations of properties, which are being undertaken independent of the ACT Government through the Australian Property Institute, commenced on Friday.
Opting into the scheme at this time does not commit homeowners to selling their property to the ACT Government. It allows valuations to be arranged which will provide homeowners with more detail on their property to inform their decisions.
Two valuations will take place on each property with the average of the two the price the homeowner will be offered by the ACT Government to purchase the property.
The Chief Minister said the Taskforce had worked closely with the Australian Property Institute to determine a fair process for the valuation of properties.
“This includes all properties being valued as at the date of the program announcement of 28 October 2014. This is to provide consistency in valuations for all owners, prevent market speculation and encourage a timely sale of contaminated houses so they can be demolished,” the Chief Minister said.
“I would also like to make clear that all homeowners do not need to vacate their homes by 30 June 2015. This is only the date at which homeowners need to register their interest in participating in the program.”
The Taskforce will work with homeowners on their preferences and where possible accommodate them such as delaying settlement, and therefore relocation, beyond that date in circumstances where families only want to move once.
“I acknowledge for many homeowners this is a difficult time and the Taskforce is working closely with homeowners on their individual circumstances and providing support.
“We are also working with banks, insurers, utilities, telecommunications providers and local businesses, many of whom have indicated their willingness to work with us in supporting Mr Fluffy owners and residents,” the Chief Minister concluded.
The Taskforce will write to homeowners this week providing additional supporting information.
(Katy Gallagher Media Release)