Fluffy-ites taking up the deal

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ANDREW Barr is letting us know 15 houses have been purchased and more than 200 homeowners have accepted the offer made by the ACT Government to purchase their home through the ‘Mr Fluffy’ Buyback Program.

The Buyback Program is part of the ACT Government’s Loose Fill Asbestos Eradication Scheme which will see the legacy issue of ‘Mr Fluffy’ loose fill asbestos insulation removed, for good.

Andrew says the program is progressing well with:

  • 806 of the 1021 homeowners have opted in to the scheme to have their houses valued
  • 371 homeowners have had both valuations undertaken and formal offers sent
  • 230 have accepted offers of purchase
  • 15 houses have been purchased

“The Eradication Scheme has been, and continues to be, a large undertaking by the Asbestos Response Taskforce, the Australian Property Institute ACT (who are independently overseeing valuations of affected properties), industry and ACT Government and one which continues to significantly impact on the Territory’s bottom line,” Andrew said.

“The Taskforce is working with individual homeowners to be flexible in areas where it can – such as on preferred and extended settlement times. However, it is important for homeowners to have certainty in the scheme and therefore to be clear that the program cannot, and will not, fundamentally change.

“I remain confident that the current program is the fairest, most responsible and affordable response available to the ACT.

“Even in its current form, the buyback and demolition program is on the edge of affordability for the Territory and continues to put pressure on the Territory’s budget. The Territory will not make a profit from this scheme but a loss in order of $400million.

“However it is important to note that the ACT community is purchasing these houses at full market value overlooking that they are affected by loose fill asbestos. Stamp duty waivers are being provided on the purchase of another property in the ACT or to repurchase the block. Relocation assistance packages which are up to $14,000 for a family of four (two adults and two dependents) are being provided. This allows homeowners, who without the scheme might not be able to sell their property, to move on to buy an equivalent home.

“We are opening up land rent provisions for those eligible who are seeking to repurchase their blocks back. We are working with utilities, banks, social services, and other providers for a compassionate response to alleviate other pressures.

“To date the ACT Government has provided $2.5 million in financial assistance payments to families and another $1.3 million to fund asbestos assessments of properties.

“In addition as part of the buyback program two valuations of each property is being undertaken with the average of the two being accepted paid in most circumstances. Offers being made on properties range from around $400,000 to $3 million.

[Photo via www.m3asbestos.com]

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