QUEANBEYAN is now a step closer to identifying the size of its loose-fill asbestos insulation problem after the State Government announced a new investigation into the ongoing public health issue last week.
Following last Friday's announcement by NSW Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet, homeowners in 14 Local Government Areas, including Queanbeyan and neighbouring Palerang, will soon be able to volunteer for a free test of their property to see if it carries the insulation.
Local Nationals member John Barilaro said the move was an "important first step."
"Free independent technical assessments will be offered to affected homeowners to advise on and confirm the adequacy of risk controls in each of the identified homes for a 12 month period," Mr Barilaro said.
"A free testing service will also be offered to residents in the 14 local government areas, for any suspected loose-fill asbestos from homes built prior to 1980, for a 12 month period."
However local Country Labor MLC Steve Whan says the voluntary nature of the investigation doesn't go far enough.
He said on Friday that the investigation had some key flaws, including relying on current Government health advice to residents of Mr Fluffy homes that stems from a 1993 study of seven homes in Queanbeyan.
"The announcement …is flawed as it relies on people coming forward," Mr Whan said. "More importantly, it leaves NSW still providing families with advice that is way out of step with the messages coming from Canberra and the majority of independent experts.
"Given the evidence we are seeing in the ACT at the moment, it is very difficult to justify basing advice to homeowners in NSW on a 21 year old air monitoring test.
"The Government must review the advice to home owners that loose-filled asbestos insulation is safe if it is sealed in the roof space," he said.
Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall said he's still waiting to see all the detail, but hoped the investigation would go some way to helping identify all of the remaining Queanbeyan homes containing loose-fill asbestos insulation.
"I look forward to seeing the detail of how the identification service will work so that information can be distributed to residents as soon as possible," Cr Overall said.
While the ACT Government has now identified almost all of the 1000-plus affected Canberra homes left behind by the now defunct 'Mr Fluffy' asbestos company, Queanbeyan City Council knows of only 11 affected properties here out of potentially more than 60.
Council has recently written to those 11 property owners, which includes a block of 30 flats, and reminded them of their safety responsibilities and the need to inform tradesmen of the potentially deadly asbestos.