I think we may get an announcement today from the ACT Government regarding a solution to the Mr Fluffy crisis. I understand that the Feds have made the final decision of how much money they’re going to hand over. Cabinet discussions were held on this last night. . We made requests for Senator Eric Abbetz to join us on my radio program this morning, but they’ve declined on the basis that whatever decision has been made, Abbetz’s office is of the belief that they should fully communicate that decision to the Chief Minister and the ACT Government before discussing it with the media.  I guess that’s fair enough.6357

Although the Feds are remaining tightlipped about all this, I understand that we’re talking about a billion dollar loan. So this will be pretty much a line of credit for the ACT Government.

Yes…this means we’ll have to pay it back.

Does that really qualify as assistance ?

I don’t know if that works for me. In that, I don’t know that this is the Federal Government taking responsibility for something that ultimately they did. This had nothing to do with the ACT Government. There was no such thing as an ACT Government when this stuff went in. Despite the apparent offer of a billion dollar loan….we still have to pay it back.

I’m assuming that there has been a number of conversations involving Chief Minister Katy Gallagher about this.  Was a loan the expectation from the ACT Government ? Is this good enough for you ?

I’ve been communicating with a number of Mr Fluffy owners over the last few months including Colin who wrote the ACT Government with a pretty sensible solution earlier in the year.  Here’s some of what Colin wrote.

My wife and I own one of these houses in Canberra and we are concerned at the delays being experienced in reaching a resolution.

 

We have reached a stage in our lives where we want to downsize but face considerable financial loss in trying to sell our property at this time.

 

Given this whole situation is not of our making – the responsibility sitting firmly with past ACT and Federal Governments – it still remains a major public health risk, not to mention the risk for those who are forced to remain in these homes while both levels of Governments procrastinate at our expense.

 

Something needs to be done – and done now. We were promised a solution by the end of August 2014 but latest information available now seems to indicate “maybe before Christmas”.

And this was Colin’s bright idea.

Our solution is for the ACT Government to allow a change to the zoning – only for blocks on which Mr Fluffy houses currently stand – and at no cost to the current land owners.

There would seem to be two options for re zoning, either of which if applied to our block would make it easier for us to possibly gain a satisfactory sale price. They are;

1. Amend the existing Dual Occupancy rules for RZ1 blocks which would allow the block to be sub divided together with unit titling so individual occupancies could be sold, or

2. Change the zoning to RZ2 that would allow any potential purchasers to build multiple dwellings on block (subject to block size of course)

In our case we have a large block; over 1300 sq. m which if rezoned in either of the aforementioned ways would unlock potential value for us to sell our property at a more realistic market value.

This is a ZERO cost solution for the ACT Government but would apply only to Mr Fluffy home blocks that were of sufficient size. I would envisage it is something that could be implemented very quickly through the Assembly (if there was a will to do so) and would be seen as a positive first step by the ACT Government in meeting the needs of some home owners like my wife and myself.

More importantly it would give us a firm prospect of closure and allow us to move on with our lives. Surely this is not asking for a great deal considering what we and other families have had to endure by living in these unsafe houses for extended periods, that pose considerable health risks, something which apparently has been known by the ACT Government for some time, yet not acted upon

He’s right you know. This would have a been a way that so many of the Mr Fluffy problems could have been solved without the need for Federal Govt input. I daresay part of the reason for the silence from the ACT Govt is that this is exactly the way that they intend to get most of their demolition money back on the Mr Fluffy blocks. I guess we may know more today.