Asbestos lawyers give qualified support to Mr Fluffy compensation plan
28 October 2014
Maurice Blackburn, the law firm supporting householders affected by Mr Fluffy asbestos has given qualified support to the announcement by the Federal and ACT governments to buy back and demolish properties.
Theodora Ahilas, head of the firm’s national asbestos practice said: “Over the past nine months we have seen this crisis go from bad to worse and are pleased that both levels of government are working together on this and seem to understand the serious financial and personal toll it has taken on those affected. It’s not just about bricks and mortar for people.”
“We look forward to getting more detail about the plan because over 200 householders have come to us seeking information and advice on their legal rights. They are under enormous pressure. This announcement today, if rolled out properly, should avoid litigation for property losses and if done well, will deal with compensation for property devaluation associated with living in contaminated dwellings.”
However, the devil will be in the detail”.
Maurice Blackburn would like to see some more answers to the following questions:
Will the ACT Government buy back properties at pre-February 2014 market rates?
Will properties be cleaned again before being demolished? Buying back and demolishing a home doesn't get rid of the residual contamination - that being the presence of loose fibres in buildings - there is s an environmental contamination risk during demolition.
Will this removal system meet internationally recognised standards of asbestos removal?
Will property owners be given assistance to find and purchase new homes and be compensated for disruption to work and school?
Can anything be done to stop a distortion in the ACT real estate market and unscrupulous vendors inflating prices for desperate homeowners who need new homes quickly?
“There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres and we know that loose-fill raw asbestos was a particularly problematic, because it has been crushed into a fine state and fibres can become airborne from ceilings, sub-floors and walls and easily circulated around a home and the immediate area causing health risks.
“This plan deals exclusively with financial loss, not personal injury. Anyone who has an asbestos- related disease will have the right to pursue a legal claim via the usual avenues and that claim will be judged according to the individual circumstances,” said Ms Ahilas.
Maurice Blackburn has been supporting the Mr Fluffy Action Group and For Renewal advocacy and support groups set up for home owners and residents in the ACT affected by loose-fill asbestos contamination.