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Canberra utilities offer new support for Mr Fluffy home owners

ACTEW Water and ActewAGL are set to become the latest companies offering support to owners of properties contaminated by Mr Fluffy loose-fill asbestos. 

Chief Minister Andrew Barr will announce on Monday new support packages, following similar moves by banks, utilities and other companies to support families and home owners of the more than 1000 affected properties in the ACT. 

Former chief minister Katy Gallagher wrote to utilities, telecommunication companies, banks and insurance firms in October, as the government began the planned $1 billion buy-back scheme around the ACT.

ACTEW is a government-owned corporation, while ActewAGL is a joint venture company.  

ACTEW and ActewAGL have both established phone numbers for affected customers seeking advice about utilities requirements. 

The government's asbestos taskforce will liaise with the firms, as well as 50 banks, credit unions, insurers, electricity, gas, water and telecommunications companies.


Each has been asked to issue fee waivers and provide concessions and flexibility for payment of charges while families dealing with the Mr Fluffy crisis negotiate their futures. 

Already about a dozen banks have advised the ACT government they will provide a compassionate response. In December, the Commonwealth Bank said it would provide nearly 250 affected customers with a $10,000 special assistance payment.

The ANZ, BankWest, Bendigo Bank, Macquarie Bank, ME Bank, NAB, Suncorp, St George, Westpac, Teacher's Mutual and Beyond Bank have also joined the response.  

"ACTEW and ActewAGL have once again shown they are community leaders by providing practical assistance to help those affected transition to new homes through the government's buy-back program," Mr Barr said.

ActewAGL retail general manager Ayesha Razzaq said energy and water services could remain connected for customers who experienced financial difficulty as a result of Mr Fluffy.

ACTEW Water managing director John Knox pledged to initiate support quickly and to waive charges associated with water and sewerage.

 "On behalf of ACTEW Water, we are pleased to be able to assist in supporting those impacted families through this difficult time," he said.

"We will work with the affected community and the taskforce to waive charges associated with water and sewerage and will seek to fast-track any planning approval processes where we have a role to play in connecting new homes." 

Details of how to access the concessions being provided by ACTEW and ActewAGL are available on the government's asbestos taskforce website.