Ok, so we all know that this Government of ours is proceeding with the Mr Fluffy buyback scheme. I acknowledge that I was one of the commentators fiercely urging them to take action, and they have.
Many are not.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Rod Calvert at the Multicultural Festival. Rod and his wife Leslie have lived most of their lives in their much cherished house on a big double block at Farrer. They don’t want to move, but they fear they’ll be forced to. Rod and Leslie have spent much of their time on this planet building their home into what it is today. They love their gardens, their house and their chookyard. They never want to leave it.
Kitty Read at Hackett is in a similar position. She’s lived most of her life in her ‘fluffy house’. The children grew up there. They’ve all moved out and her dear husband has passed away. That house is her spiritual home.
Kitty and the Calverts are in the last quarter of their lives. They’re willing to take the risk, if any, of living the rest of it in their homes.
The question I have for Andrew Barr and the Government pertains to the recently announced study into the risk of living in a Fluffy house.
This will be the first detailed long-term study into the risks of living in houses contaminated with Mr Fluffy asbestos. We’re spending over $400,000 on it over two years. This study is being done by the Australian National Universitie’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health.
Now, when you commission a study like, you do so with an open mind. You can’t pre-empt the results. It’s up to the experts to sift through the information and find the answers.
The big question is what if after two years…what if the researchers conclude that there is no risk to residents who lived in the Mr Fluffy homes ?
What the hell do we do then ? Do we go back to the Calverts and say…”So sorry Rod and Leslie. So sorry for bulldozing all of your memories and building a bunch of units in their place.”
Perhaps we could acquire those units back, bulldoze them and build a replica house and gardens to move the Calverts back in.
In all seriousness, if we’re undertaking this study, does it not allow the Government to give ‘stay in proceedings’ of 2 years for those older residents who don’t want to go.
How absurd will this whole scenario be if the study finds there is no risk ?