The ACT Government is preparing us for bad news. Bad news regarding the bottom line of the Mr Fluffy buyback scheme.
I still believe that the Government will end up in front after the buyback, purely and simply because after knocking down 1000 homes, subdividing most of them and onselling land for potentially 2000 ‘homes’ common sense suggests a profit will be made.
Katy Gallagher and Andrew Kefford assure me that’s not the case.
The Chief Minister is suggesting to us that we’ll be in the red to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars at the end of this. Could this be a ‘trash the tram’ excuse. God, I hope so.
I know it’s not the first time I’ve said it, but surely this is the perfect excuse to say, maybe this train line from Gungahlin to Civic doesn’t stack up economically. Supporters of the light rail line are by definition economic vandals.
The ACT budget is not in a super position. Our economy is not growing at the same rate as the rest of the country. Those Federal Public Service cuts may have something to do with that. And before you get all partisan on me, I’m sure that if Ruddy had somehow won a year ago, the ALP knife would have been just as sharp.
Katy Gallagher will front the Assembly today to ask for approval to spend $750 million to pay for the buyback and demolition of 1021 asbestos-contaminated homes. It’s very important that this is rubber stamped. We have to move forward on this, and we have to move now. The timelines here are very thin. We want the bill passed on December 4 so that money can flow to homeowners by December 6.
Although Katy is of the belief that we’re going to end up in the red on all of this, even after the sale of land, she won’t give a specific estimate of by how much. She speaks of a deterioration of ‘hundreds of millions’ of dollars. Of course we’re borrowing a billion dollars or so from the Feds to fund all of this.
I spoke to Andrew Kefford on my radio program this morning. He’s the head of the Asbestos Taskforce here. What a mongrel of a job. ?
Whenever I speak to him, he sounds under pressure and I can fully understand why.
I pressed him for some more specific answers regarding the Calverts at Farrer and Kitty Read at Hacket. These are two cases of long term residents who will do whatever they can to stay in their Mr Fluffy homes. He doesn’t speak on specific cases. I do hope they’re legitimately given that option.
We do know that 521 homeowners have opted to go down the valuation path, effectively opting into the buypack process.
I’m also told that much awaited list of Mr Fluffy homes will be available to the public in the first half of next year.