When the Chief Minister stood alongside Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz a fortnight ago to make the major Mr Fluffy announcement there were those who believed we were about to hear the solution. An all encompassing solution is not actually possible.
There are 1000+ families involved in this. Although these loose asbestos fibres have drawn them altogether, they’re all different. They’re houses are all different. They’re stories are all different. It’s impossible to construct a one size fit’s all solution that’s going to please even half of them.
I was most disappointed with the Commonwealth’s contribution to this. They really haven’t given much at all. They’ve kindly allowed us to borrow a billion dollars from them…that we have to pay back with interest. Mr Fluffy asbestos went into these homes while the ACT was under Federal control. Irrespective of any legal waivers that have been signed, I think there is a moral responsibility for the Feds to put a lot more skin in this game.
I put that to Senator Abetz last week. He smiled his polite smile and explained all of the legalities away. He assured me that if the ACT had been inundated by floodwaters that forced the demolition of 1000 homes, the Commonwealth response would be exactly the same. We all know it wouldn’t be.
Abetz knew that the Chief Minister was under enormous pressure to announce a “solution” and that as a consequence she’d accept the loan offer. She had no choice. I’m annoyed with the Feds. Many Fluffy owners are annoyed with the local government.
Mike has lived in his ‘Mr Fluffy home’ in Kambah for 12 years. He called my radio program last week. How does he feel ?
“Appalled, disgusted and let down.”
He told me “Nothing good is coming out of this for me and my family.”
A number of houses on Mike’s street were razed by the 2003 bushfires. He now wishes that theirs had gone up in smoke too.
“If it had burnt down, we could have just rebuilt and we’d be fine,” he said.
He became aware of the Mr Fluffy status of his home in February, immediately after doing some major renovations. He’s most appalled that the ACT Government didn’t inform him of the status of his house before he embarked on a project that saw him cutting through walls and crawling around in the roof cavity.
Matt now lives in Dunlop. He grew up in a ‘Fluffy home’. His father has mesothelioma. Did the house cause it ?
“How would we ever know ?” Matt asked when I spoke to him last week. “He worked as a motor mechanic for many years so he could have been exposed in a number of ways.”
Despite leaving the offending residence years ago, Matt feels bitter and helpless.
“We like it here. It’s been our home since 1967,” he said.
“They’re going to have drag me out kicking and screaming”
I think we’re a long way from being done here folks.