A tradesperson has made the first Mr Fluffy discovery in the ACT for nearly three years, with a home in Curtin the latest confirmed to be affected by loose-fill asbestos insulation.
Geoffrey Rutledge, the ACT government's deputy director-general for sustainability and the built environment, said the Asbestos Response Taskforce was informed of the discovery on July 5.
He said a tradesperson had identified "suspicious material" in the roof cavity of the house after removing a tile. The tradesperson immediately contacted an asbestos assessor.
The house has been added to the taskforce's affected residential premises register, which lists the addresses of the remaining Mr Fluffy properties in Canberra. The list has been published on the taskforce website since December and is progressively updated as properties are demolished. The original list of all affected properties also remains available.
The owners of the Curtin home are eligible to participate in the ACT government's loose-fill asbestos eradication scheme, which includes the buyback and demolition of affected properties. The valuation of their home will be based on the date the house was added to the affected residential premises register, which was July 11 this year, The owners have until June 30 next year to take part in the scheme if they choose to.
According to Domain property data, the home was last sold at auction in October 2014, fetching $567,000.
"The taskforce is working closely with the owners, providing the same support and assistance that has been offered to all affected homeowners," Mr Rutledge said.
"The owners have requested that their privacy be respected while they consider their options."
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Mr Rutledge said the newly discovered Mr Fluffy property had not been part of any earlier government clean-up programs.
"The property is a new find, where loose-fill asbestos is located in only a portion of the ceiling cavity," he said.
Mr Fluffy loose-fill asbestos was pumped into homes as insulation between 1968 and 1979, despite the federal health department advising the Commonwealth government in 1968 to put a stop to the installations because of the risks associated with asbestos.
There are now 1024 confirmed Mr Fluffy properties in the ACT. Of those, 979 have been demolished and 974 of them have been removed from the affected residential premises register.
The recently discovered Mr Fluffy house is Curtin's 41st home affected by loose-fill asbestos insulation. Four of them remain standing.
Asked whether the Asbestos Response Taskforce feared there may be more undiscovered Mr Fluffy homes, Mr Rutledge said in an emailed response that the latest discovery was only the second in Canberra since the buyback and demolition scheme was announced in October 2014. The most recent discovery prior to the one in July happened in Downer in October 2016.
"The actions taken by the tradesperson [in Curtin] indicate the effectiveness of the mandatory asbestos awareness training in the ACT in managing unexpected finds of asbestos," Mr Rutledge said.
In 2014, the ACT became the first Australian jurisdiction to mandate asbestos awareness training for all workers who might come into contact with asbestos. As of July 1 this year, these workers are also required to complete training on how to handle asbestos safely.