Former tenants and owners given access to Mr Fluffy details

Former tenants and owners given access to Mr Fluffy details

The Government has shifted ground on allowing former tenants and owners access to details about Mr Fluffy homes, saying it will accept a statutory declaration as proof someone lived in a house.

A spokesperson for the Asbestos Taskforce said authorities had widened the acceptable proofs to include a statutory declaration, based on feedback on Monday morning. Former tenants or owners can also produce a rates notice, an electricity, gas or water bill, a rental statement, or seek permission from the home owner.

NSW state MP Steve Whan✓ said he had been contacted previously by several residents in Jindabyne and Queanbeyan.

NSW state MP Steve Whan✓ said he had been contacted previously by several residents in Jindabyne and Queanbeyan.

You then fill out a form available online and lodge it in person or by email with the Environment and Planning Directorate.

The government has not released the list of 1000-plus Canberra homes that contained the dangerous loose-fill asbestos insulation, despite freedom of information requests, because the release would breach the privacy of home owners. Owners are worried about their homes being targeted, including those that now stand empty with people forced to leave, and about their privacy, and their house values.


If a decision is made to demolish the houses, with taskforce head Andrew Kefford's advice on this due with the government by the end of next week at latest, authorities have suggested the list might be released since much of the justification for withholding it will become moot.

In the meantime, the system begins on Monday for former tenants to track down the information.

Mr Kefford said the taskforce had balanced privacy with the importance of providing the information to people.

The requests are processed free of charge.

He said before making an application, tenants should consider the age of the home they had lived in; Mr Fluffy stopped installing the asbestos in 1978 or 1979. Tenants should also consider simply asking their former landlord or real estate agent.

Several former owners and tenants were registered with the taskforce, he said.

Also this week, NSW joins the hunt for Mr Fluffy houses after the NSW government announced on Friday that residents in 14 local government areas could request a free test to check whether their roof spaces contained the insulation.

The 14 areas do not include Wollongong or Newcastle, where residents have told The Canberra Times they believe the material was pumped into ceilings in the 1970s, but take in parts of the south coast, Snowy Mountains, areas around Albury near the Victorian border, Young, and areas near Canberra.

NSW state MP Steve Whan told the NSW Parliament last week that he had been contacted previously by several residents in Jindabyne and Queanbeyan.

Given the ACT response, it was no longer tenable for the NSW government to suggest it was safe to live in homes where the asbestos still remained in ceilings, he said.

NSW's advice that it was safe so long as the ceiling was sealed off relied on a 1993 study of seven homes in Queanbeyan, Mr Whan said. But homes were getting older, some had been renovated and others had changed hands, with new owners not knowing the asbestos history of their homes.

"It's been over 20 years now since that advice which the NSW Department of Health is still relying on was actually formulated," he told the NSW Parliament last week. "It is simply not adequate any more to rely on a 21-year-old study to say that these homes are safe."

Mr Whan said Friday's announcement was a step in the right direction, but was flawed because it relied on NSW residents coming forward for the voluntary assessments.

"More importantly, it leaves NSW still providing families with advice that is way out of step with the messages coming from Canberra and the majority of independent experts," he said, urging the government to review its advice that the asbestos was safe to live with.

“Until recently the ACT also thought Mr Fluffy houses were safe. Now we are seeing them demolished. Clearly the situation has changed in recent months as new information emerges, and government must respond accordingly.”

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