Scores of Holbrook residents who having been living in potentially cancer-causing homes have pleaded with the state government for urgent compensation.
A rare cluster of homes in Holbrook are contaminated with loose-fill “Mr Fluffy” asbestos, which has spurred the state government to test more than 2500 homes in the region by the end of the year.
Official statistics revealed by the department of fair trading suggest 36 homes in the Greater Hume shire contain loose-fill asbestos, but residents have been told that number is set to rise.
Ruth Dinsdale, 77, has been living in her contaminated home for six months while she waits for a government valuer to appraise her home and offer compensation to rebuild.
The fifth-generation Holbrook resident thought contractors were filling her walls with “treated newspaper” in the 60s, when in actual fact they were blowing asbestos into her home.
“When I was told I had asbestos in my home I became ill with shock and devastation,” Ms Dinsdale said.
“I was going to live in this house for the rest of my life, so to be told it has to be destroyed was just devastating.
“My first thought was to downsize dramatically and buy a little place, but the money hasn't come through and a house I had my eye on has been sold.”
The department of fair trading has paid Ms Dinsdale $1000 for legal fees and $850 for counselling, but she can’t afford to move out.
“They’re saying they’ll value my place in about March next year, so I’ll take a few deep breaths and enjoy the old place,” she said.
“I have little dogs and a cat that live with me, so I can't go into a motel, they’d die if they had to sleep outside.
“People are angry, disillusioned; it’s a real kick in the bum for the community.”
Greater Hume Shire mayor Heather Wilton has called on the state government to work faster to get people out of potentially cancer-causing houses.
“We have moral responsibility to help the people,” Cr Wilton said.
“Residents feeling quite angry; they feel like they're being ignored.
“Some properties have been valued but they are waiting on the result.
“Others were told many weeks ago they'd have a valuation in their hands by end of last week, but they’re still waiting.
“This is people’s futures we’re talking about, and they’re rightfully frustrated because they’re being forced to mark time.”
Council is not responsible for compensation claims, despite its willingness to help affected residents.
The Greater Hume Shire has invited Albury MP Greg Aplin to its next monthly information meeting to hear from concerned residents.