Greg Aplin and Greater Hume Shire refuse to concede ground on loose fill asbestos payments

FLASHBACK: Greg Aplin and NSW Government innovation and better regulation minister Matt Kean in Holbrook earlier this year.
FLASHBACK: Greg Aplin and NSW Government innovation and better regulation minister Matt Kean in Holbrook earlier this year.

GREATER Hume Shire and member for Albury Greg Aplin are refusing to budge on their positions relating to loose-fill asbestos claims for affected property owners in Holbrook.

Mr Aplin has issued a strong defence of his government’s voluntary purchase and demolition scheme and accused the shire of pre-empting a failed bid for funding for some residents.

He added the shire wasn’t prepared to apply the guidelines as previously agreed to and didn’t want to deal with the associated paperwork.

But, shire general manager Steve Pinnuck said he had also provided a copy of his report presented to council this week to Mr Aplin so he wasn’t “blindsided” by the fallout.

Mr Pinnuck maintained Holbrook was a special case due to the large number of properties impacted, their relatively low value and a small real estate market if affected landowners wanted to buy back in the town.

Mr Aplin said the shire had regularly been told it was wrongly interpreting the guidelines, but wasn’t accepting of the advice.

“How can they say they won’t qualify when it hasn’t even been submitted?” he said.

“The process has to be transparent and accountable.

“Council is asking for an artificially inflated property market, but Holbrook is not a special case.

“Each property is independently valued as if it was free of loose-fill asbestos

“The community fund was designed to assist with the unique costs associated with buying, selling or re-building a residential property in Greater Hume Shire.

“It is not intended to increase the value of loose-fill asbestos affected properties.”

Mr Aplin also disputed those in line for a claim was as low as 10 to 12 from the 38 affected properties.

He said 10 properties were owned by investors and another eight parties were still weighing up their options.”

Mr Pinnuck said he thought long and hard about the report’s contents.

“I don’t like getting offside with the local member,” he said.

“From day one I’ve been trying to say while the scheme is a good one it’s not working for Holbrook as well as other areas of the state like Queanbeyan where you’ve got a large real estate market and once people get their compensation they’ve got a range of homes to choose from.

“In Holbrook most properties impacted are older properties.”