Rabu, 06 Agustus 2014

ACT Opposition claims Mr Fluffy asbestos taskforce under-resourced (ABC)

The new ACT Asbestos Response Taskforce is taking too long to respond to people in Mr Fluffy insulation homes, according to the ACT Opposition.

The taskforce is the first point of contact for Canberra residents who own or live in a house that has been contaminated with potentially deadly loose-fill asbestos.

More than a 1,000 homes had loose-fill asbestos pumped into the roof spaces by the Mr Fluffy insulation company in the 1960s and 1970s.

Despite a Commonwealth removal program in the 1980s, remnant asbestos fibres have been found in some houses, forcing about 27 families to move out.

Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson said the taskforce needed more ACT Government-allocated resources to meet its own response deadlines.

"In some circumstances we know that people have been told they would get a call back within a couple of days, and a couple of weeks later they still haven't heard back," he said.

"That's unsatisfactory and we want to make sure that the taskforce is adequately resourced."

Nervous Mr Fluffy homeowners need information: Opposition

Mr Hanson said the taskforce was struggling and needed additional staff or funding to allow it to make contact with nervous families.

"I'm not blaming the taskforce, this is a very difficult situation, there is a surge of people who become aware of this, particularly after the registered mail was sent out," he said.

"The taskforce needs to have adequate people so it can communicate with the Mr Fluffy homeowners and I think this surge period will diminish once that information has been passed on.

"So this is not a long-term problem, I think this about providing the resources right here, and right now to the taskforce."

However, the head of the taskforce, Andrew Kefford, said a peak in demand had caused some initial delays, but it was being dealt with.

"In the days after I wrote my registered letter to the home owners the calls went from 40 or 50 a day to over 100, and our registrations went from 40 to 50 to over 200 on a single day," he said.

"So obviously there are going to be peaks and we're seeking to manage those and bring in additional staff as we need to."

More than 1,800 people including former and current Mr Fluffy residents, tradespeople and real estate agents who have worked on Mr Fluffy properties have registered so far with the taskforce.

A total of 24 staff have been allocated to work in the taskforce, and an additional six people at a dedicated call centre.

Mr Kefford said it had the correct level of resources to respond.

"Yes, at times we have got behind that three-day timeframe and clearly we are doing everything we can to catch up on those," he said

"But I'm satisfied that we have all the resources that we need to deal with the issues that we are dealing with at the moment.

"I've had nothing but cooperation from my ACT public service colleagues in releasing staff to the taskforce and indeed from the Government."


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