NSW

Queanbeyan Mr Fluffy homes miss out on Commonwealth loan for clean-up of affected properties

Queanbeyan City Council will continue fighting for assistance to remediate the town's Mr Fluffy houses after NSW was left out of a federal government $1 billion loan to buy and demolish loose fill asbestos properties.

In an extraordinary announcement on Tuesday,  Employment Minister Eric Abetz ruled the Commonwealth out of providing assistance to affected residents in Queanbeyan.

The federal government will loan the ACT government $1 billion for the purchase and demolition of 1021 houses across Canberra

Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall said he was disappointed but not surprised that NSW homes were barred from the loan.

"I certainly welcome the news for ACT residents with homes affected by this Mr Fluffy  scourge but it leaves Queanbeyan and other affected NSW residents out on a limb," he said. 

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"It is critical a structured remedial program is made available to residents."

Cr Overall said he would continue urging the NSW and Federal governments to support Queanbeyan homeowners affected by the Mr Fluffy asbestos crisis, which he described as "a national health issue".

"The issue in Queanbeyan is well beyond the capacity of a local council. It requires NSW government intervention, possibly with Commonwealth support," he said.

"I've made strong representations to the Honourable Eric Abetz and also the NSW premier over recent months.

"I'll be continuing to to urge the NSW premier and Eric Abetz to ensure Queanbeyan and NSW residents are part of the solution which hasn't happened to date."

Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency head Peter Tighe has recommended that the NSW government "immediately" extend financial support to get families out of at least 12 identified Mr Fluffy homes in Queanbeyan and others testing positive across NSW. 

The NSW parliament announced last month it would investigate the extent of Mr Fluffy asbestos contamination in NSW homes. 

More than 200 NSW residents have requested tests of the loose-fill insulation in their ceilings.

Cr Overall urged residents in properties built before 1980 to register for a free inspection.

"The current situation in Queanbeyan is we have 12 identified properties affected by Mr Fluffy but sill do not know the total number of houses," he said.

"We are currently encouraging any homeowners in Queanbeyan with houses built before 1980 to register for a free inspection by NSW Workcover."

Member for Monaro John Barilaro said he would vigorously fight for equal financial assistance in Queanbeyan.

Mr Barilaro said he was bitterly disappointed that NSW houses had been left out of the federal government's support package.

"This is a community wide problem that extends beyond territorial borders," he said.

"For the Federal Government to draw a line on a map and decide not to help fund anything beyond the ACT is morally unjustifiable. For my Commonwealth colleagues to be quibbling over what they should and shouldn't have to fund is just short-sighted.

"NSW cannot afford to be regarded as second class citizens by the Commonwealth."

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