Canberra homeowners, as well as past and present tenants, can now find out if they have lived in a house that contained loose-fill asbestos and was part of an asbestos removal program.
The ACT government’s Asbestos Response Taskforce has cleared legal hurdles and introduced a new system that allows anyone who wants to know if they have ever rented or owned a home that contained 'Mr Fluffy' asbestos to submit a request.
According to a report in the Fairfax press, owners and tenants will need to prove a connection with the address of the home through a rates notice, utility bill or rental statement. Alternatively, permission can be sought from the homeowner.
They are then required to fill out a form available online and lodge it with the Environment Planning Directorate either in person or by email, with all requests processed free of charge.
The new search process was underpinned by the balancing of privacy considerations and restrictions with the importance of providing information, according to the Asbestos Response Taskforce website.
Despite receiving freedom of information requests, the government has not released the list of more than 1,000 Canberra homes that are believed to contain the asbestos insulation known as 'Mr Fluffy', since it would breach the privacy of homeowners.
Before making an enquiry, owners and tenants should consider the age of the home because 'Mr Fluffy' ceased operating in the ACT between 1978 and 1979. The taskforce has also suggested asking the previous landlord or real estate agent for advice.