Triple threat

Govt. re­sponds as as­bestos finds grow

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS - By So­phie Burge loose­fillas­bestos,

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

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