Australian Government delivers first stage of $1 billion Mr Fluffy loan

Media Release

WT022/2015

28 January 2015

Joint release with:

Senator Eric Abetz

Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for Employment
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service

Senator Zed Seselja

Australian Capital Territory

The first instalment of the Australian Government's $1 billion concessional loan to help remediate ACT homes affected by “Mr Fluffy” loose-fill asbestos will be paid tomorrow following the signing of the loan agreement between the Australian and ACT governments.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the loan is a major boost to the ACT Government being able to deliver its buyback and demolition scheme.

“The loan is for a 10-year period from January 2015 through to June 2024 and will see around 200 homes demolished each year under the ACT Government's scheme,” Mr Truss said.

Minister for Employment Senator Eric Abetz, who is leading the Australian Government's response to loose asbestos, said The ACT Asbestos Response Taskforce had identified demolition of affected homes as the only viable solution in a report released in October 2014.

“The first payment of $750 million will be provided to the ACT Government tomorrow (29 January 2015), with a further $250 million slated for July 2015. This will ensure that the ACT Government can help the families who have been affected by this situation” Senator Abetz said.

“The Commonwealth assistance's will protect the ACT Government's credit rating and save it up to $32 million over the life of the loan via access to the Commonwealth's interest rate.”

Senator for the Australian Capital Territory Zed Seselja said the one-off size and cost of dealing with the Mr Fluffy issue represented about a fifth of the ACT Government's annual budget.

“The Commonwealth package is a significant boost to the ACT. Without such a loan arrangement, the ACT Government would have struggled to deal with this issue and put pressure its own credit rating,” Senator Seselja said.

The Australian Government announced the $1 billion concessional loan in October 2014.

People looking for more information can visit the ACT Asbestos Response Taskforce website at: www.act.gov.au/asbestos-response-taskforce, or contact the Taskforce via: asbestostaskforce@act.gov.au.