Mr Fluffy asbestos: Free testing for Bega Valley homes

Removing asbestos. Photo: Canberra Times.

Removing asbestos. Photo: Canberra Times.

BEGA Valley residents concerned about the possibility of having loose fill asbestos insulation in their ceiling space now have the option of applying for free testing and risk assessments through the NSW Government.

The offer comes after Bega Valley Shire Council representatives met with NSW WorkCover and policy specialists last week to discuss a way forward for concerned local residents.

BVSC manager of health and building services Jeff Tipping said a number of people had been in touch following local media reports indicating that loose fill asbestos insulation had been found in a number of homes in Queanbeyan City and the surrounding local government areas of Yass and Palerang.

During the 1960s and 1970s, pure loose fill asbestos was sold as ceiling insulation for residential and commercial premises in Australia.

A company known as Mr Fluffy installed this insulation in properties in and around the ACT and parts of NSW.

Sampling programs between 1989 and 2009 identified 13 properties in Queanbeyan City and the surrounding local government areas of Yass and Palerang as containing asbestos material installed by Mr Fluffy.

Two other contractors may have installed loose filled asbestos insulation during this time in southern NSW.

Mr Tipping said the NSW Government announced an independent investigation in August 2014 to establish the number of residential properties with ceiling insulation that may contain loose-filled asbestos material.

“An independent specialist is working with the NSW Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities to help establish the scope of properties impacted,” Mr Tipping said.

“The investigation will review and assess relevant records including inspection reports, risk assessments and compliance and disposal records.

“The NSW Government is offering free independent technical assessments to eligible affected homeowners for a 12 month period to advise on and confirm the adequacy of risk controls in each of the identified homes.

“Additionally, a free testing service is now available to eligible residents in the 14 local government areas for a 12 month period, for any suspected loose fill asbestos from homes built prior to 1980.

“If you are concerned you are encouraged to get in touch with council as your first point of contact, and we will then determine if you are eligible and how you can apply for the free service through WorkCover.

“WorkCover NSW has committed ongoing support for councils through continued funding of an asbestos policy project manager for Local Government NSW throughout 2015 and 2016 to support and assist in adopting and implementing the model asbestos policy across the state.

“Council and WorkCover NSW are working together to issue advice and support for concerned residents.

“We were the first council in line to discuss the issue with WorkCover, and resident concerns can now be addressed,” he said.

For further information contact Bega Valley Shire Council on 6499 2222.

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