Greater Hume Shire foregoes funding for community project in Holbrook from asbestos cash

GREATER Hume Shire will dig in for a fight on more financial compensation for loose-fill asbestos affected residents in Holbrook rather than nominate a community project for funding to also be bank-rolled by the NSW government.

The shire and state governments are at loggerheads about guidelines associated with the voluntary purchase and demolition program which council argues puts residents of the town at a disadvantage.

But member for Albury Greg Aplin maintains the government’s “one size fits all” solution is fair.

Shire general manager Steve Pinnuck said when council lobbied the government for additional compensation, which was forthcoming earlier this year, funding for a community project was never sought and affected residents were always the priority.

“We only sought additional funding for those affected,” he said.

“We are going to concentrate our efforts on working with impacted residents to develop an application that best fits the guidelines.

“It’s not something from left-field.

“Potentially the number of homes impacted had a more wide-reaching impact on the Holbrook community than the people directly impacted.

“But council sees it as a secondary issue at the moment.”

The amount for the community project would be determined by the success or failure of claims from the $222,000 made available for 37 affected properties on top of an earlier $148,000 to buy furniture.

Mr Aplin said the intention of the scheme was to keep people in Holbrook long-term.

“Some people don’t live in Holbrook so they wouldn’t be re-settling there and there might be some money council could avail themselves of for a project which would benefit Holbrook,” he said.

“The funding was made available to enhance the appeal of Holbrook.

“Don’t pre-judge or pre-empt because you don’t know how much is going to be allocated.”