Public auctions signal final phase of Govt response to Mr Fluffy

Released 11/04/2016

Public auction of the first five Mr Fluffy remediated blocks tomorrow (TUESDAY) commences the final phase of the Government’s response to removing Mr Fluffy from our community.

“It was just over 18 months ago that the Asbestos Response Taskforce was created by the Government to provide a coordinated and compassionate response to this complex community, social, financial and health issue,” Minister Gentleman said.

“Tomorrow marks another significant milestone with the public auction of the first five remediated blocks. These blocks, in Canberra’s South, are being auctioned after the former owners elected not to pursue a First Right of Refusal to return and rebuild.

“These blocks will be auctioned and rebuilding will then occur, restoring streets and communities as well as defraying some of the significant cost to this program.”

Minister Gentleman said to date more than $740 million had been committed to the Mr Fluffy issue and after the resale of affected blocks, there was still expected to be a net cost of $400 million to the community.

“The ACT Government stepped up and quickly delivered support through the Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme so former owners could move to safer accommodation. This was absolutely the right thing to do, but it does come at a significant financial cost to our community,” he said.

“The Territory purchased affected houses from owners at uncontaminated market value, provided financial relocation support and stamp duty concessions for the purchase of another property in the ACT or their remediated block.

“The resale process is the next stage in this response and it is important community and owners understand that there will not be “profit” through the program.”

The blocks in Pearce, Duffy, Waramanga and Chapman are being auctioned by Ray White on 12 April with another auction of five blocks in Scullin, Fraser, Downer, Campbell and Macgregor to take place by Independent Property Group on 14 April.

Minister Gentleman said that while the resale process was important to the Territory financially, it was also important to the 12,000 neighbours across 56 suburbs impacted by the issue as well as to the former owners.

“In 2014 the Government committed to eradicate Mr Fluffy from our community for once and all and through the Asbestos Response Taskforce we are doing this quickly, safely and efficiently as well as compassionately,” he said.

“I am aware that for some former owners the public sale of blocks will be challenging and the Taskforce stands ready to continue its role in providing support and information. For neighbours the auction process will see rebuilding occur in their communities now free from loose fill asbestos.”

The resale phase has two elements – the First Right of Refusal process which enables owners to return and rebuild on their remediated block. Former owners do not need to compete at public auction to purchase the block - an advantage as blocks will not sell for less at auction than offered to former owners.

If owners decide not to pursue this, the blocks will be offered first to Territory agencies and then sold publicly at auction by the Land Development Agency.

“What we will see next week is the beginning of this process which will continue for the next few years,” Minister Gentleman said.

“It is the critical next stage of delivering our commitment of eradicating loose fill asbestos from our community.”

*Audio available upon request*

- Statement ends -

Section: Mick Gentleman, MLA | Media Releases

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