Govt. responds as asbestos finds grow
The NSW Government has announced a $250 million voluntary home buy-back scheme.
It comes at the same time a third home in Berrigan Shire has tested positive for potentially deadly loose-fill asbestos provided by former business Mr Fluffy.
The NSW Government has said the scheme, which runs until August next year, will offer more flexibility to home owners than the program currently operating in the ACT.
The voluntary purchase or demolition program will enable eligible homeowners to have a choice — they can sell both land and home to the government, or keep the block and just sell the home.
A Loose-Fill Asbestos Implementation Taskforce will be es- tablished to oversee the program.
The program will also include the establishment of a public register of affected properties, introducing mandatory hazard labelling and identifying affected properties on planning certificates.
Berrigan Shire Council risk enterprise manager Michelle Koopman said the program offers sensible solutions to owners of affected homes.
‘‘From a council perspective, it is the announcement we were hoping for,’’ she said.
‘‘There was really no other course of action that could be taken.’’
Last week’s discovery of a third affected home in the shire has been confirmed by the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities.
It has prompted further calls from HACA and Berrigan Shire Council for residents to take advantage of the free testing program.
It is only available for free for another month.
‘‘We are still encouraging anybody who has a house built prior to 1980 to register for the free testing program even if they have insulation bats in their ceiling and not loose-fill insulation,’’ Mrs Koopman said.
‘‘The advice is if people do not participate in the program, they will have to bear the cost of future demolition or repairs, with the value of their contaminated properties reduced significantly.’’
HACA testing expanded into the Southern Riverina last year after it was discovered a quantity of the Mr Fluffy company’s loose-fill product had been delivered to Berrigan and Finley in the 1960s and 1970s.
Berrigan Shire was one of 26 local government areas believed to have been sent the product for use in homes and since the testing program began, three affected homes have been discovered in the shire.
Last week’s discovery was the 10th home across the state identified as part of the free program, and 67 affected properties in total across the state.
Owners of homes found to contain Mr Fluffy asbestos may be eligible for a ‘Make Safe Assistance’ package.
It provides funding for relocation, replacement of some household items and clothing, counselling and free technical assessments and the full cost of environmental cleaning and sealing.
Register for testing online at
call Service NSW on 137 788 or contact Berrigan Shire Council on 5888 5100.
A list of licensed asbestos assessors is online at