Former Canberran of the year appointed as Chair of Mr Fluffy Community and Expert Reference Group

Released 12/08/2014

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has today announced the appointment of paediatrician and former Canberran of the Year, Dr Sue Packer AM FRACP, as Chairperson of the ACT Asbestos Response Taskforce's Community and Expert Reference Group (CERG).

"The ACT Government is committed to providing long term support to the households affected by Mr Fluffy asbestos and today I am pleased to be able to announce the Chair as well as nine other Canberrans who have kindly agreed to serve as members on the CERG," the Chief Minister said.

"The Community and Expert Reference Group is an important part of our response and will provide direct input into the priorities and work of the Asbestos Response Taskforce. 

"The group has been formed to provide an important link to those affected by loose-fill asbestos, allowing the Taskforce to explore issues with direct input from those most impacted, and I expect the CERG will be an invaluable sounding board for the Taskforce.

"I am particularly pleased that Dr Packer has agreed to lead the CERG.  She is a respected Canberran who is well-known right across the community as a compassionate advocate, particularly for children, and former Canberran of the Year," the Chief Minister said.

"As a highly regarded paediatrician, Dr Packer also brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience working with families and I am incredibly happy she has agreed to be part of the long term response to the issue of Mr Fluffy asbestos in our community.

"Dr Packer has been a paediatrician since 1972 and worked as a community paediatrician with a special interest in child abuse and abuse prevention from 1990.  Although now retired from full time work, Dr Packer continues to work in the ACT Health funded Child At Risk Health Unit," the Chief Minister said.

Dr Packer said she was honoured by the appointment and would draw upon her experiences working with people and families as Chairperson of the CERG.

"I have worked as a Community paediatrician for over two decades. In that time I gained a lot of experience working with families in distressing and uncertain circumstances.  These experiences will definitely influence how I approach the role as Chairperson," Dr Packer said.

"Rather than being a decision making body, the CERG is there to listen to the community and advocate to the Taskforce. One of my main intentions going into the role will be to assist those households and individuals affected by the asbestos insulation issues to get help and support from Government," Dr Packer concluded.

It is expected that the first meeting of the CERG will occur within the next couple of weeks.

Other members of the CERG, include:

  • Ms Brianna Heseltine (Convenor of the Fluffy Owners Residents Action Group and home owner);
  • Ms Chris Healy (former Director of the ACT Bushfire Recovery Centre and home owner);
  • Mr Chris Redmond (Director of Woden Community Service and home owner);
  • Mr Dean Hall (ACT Secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union);
  • Mr John Miller (Executive Director of the Master Builders Association of the ACT);
  • Mr Neil Evans (Chief Executive Officer of the Housing Industry Association of the ACT);
  • Mr Ron Bell (Chief Executive Officer of the Real Estate Institute of the ACT);
  • Mr Mark McCabe (ACT Work Safety Commissioner); and
  • Dr Andrew Pengilley (Acting Chief Health Officer for the ACT).

- Statement ends -

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