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Monday, 1 September 2014
Page: 9295


Dr LEIGH (Fraser) (16:22): Around 700 deaths a year occur as a result of exposure to asbestos, a number which is increasing and projected to peak in the next decade. Asbestos is a class 1 carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure. It has been banned since 2003. In Canberra, over 1,000 residents have been affected by the use of loose-fill asbestos by the Mr Fluffy company, and yesterday hundreds of affected families joined for a barbecue on Federation Mall on the lawns of Parliament House. While I was there I spoke to a constituent of mine. She and her husband have two adult sons, one of whom has a disability. They have been forced to move out of their house. They are housesitting for friends next week, but they do not know where they will be the week after.

The gathering heard from many speakers, including the indefatigable Brianna Heseltine, Katy Gallagher and Jeremy Hanson. The member for Canberra was there, as were Senators Lundy and Seselja. We recognised the launch of FOR Renewal. I commend FOR Renewal's co-founders, Natasha Parkinson, Elisa Thompson, Lisa Ziolkowski, Priya Reddy, Annabel Yagos and Brianna Heseltine. We recognised the stress that the families are going through during this difficult time. I commend the ACT government's work, through its task force, to deal with this extremely difficult issue for Canberra residents, and I hope also for Queanbeyan residents.