Eddie Casey and his partner Dale Freestone with their children Grace Casey, 1, and Leon Casey, 3, outside their home in Bungendore which contains Mr Fluffy asbestos.

Eddie Casey and his partner Dale Freestone with their children Grace Casey, 1, and Leon Casey, 3, outside their home in Bungendore which contains Mr Fluffy asbestos. Photo: Melissa Adams

Canberra couple Eddie Casey and Dale Freestone were well aware of Mr Fluffy asbestos when it came time for them to buy a home in August.

That’s why they hired a licensed asbestos assessor from Canberra to fully check the small Bungendore cottage in which they wanted to raise their two children.

When the report came back, all clear for signs of Mr Fluffy’s distinctive loose amosite asbestos, the sale proceeded and the couple crossed the NSW border from their rented Garran home to start enjoying country life with Leon, 3, Grace, 1.

That’s why a letter last month from WorkCover NSW informing them their new cottage contained Mr Fluffy came as an almighty shock.

“I thought it was a mistake in the paperwork,” said Eddie, a 25-year-old landscape architecture student at the University of Canberra.

He asked the Palerang Council to check its records and hired another A-class licensed asbestos assessor from Canberra, Robson Environmental, to urgently test the house.

Devastatingly for the family, council records confirmed that the home had tested positive for Mr Fluffy during a voluntary dust sampling program conducted by the Queanbeyan City Council in 1999.

The Robson report further confirmed amosite in the hallway and master bedroom and in visible patches stuck to the timber joists under a second layer of non-asbestos insulation in the ceiling.

Mr Casey and Ms Freestone are now receiving legal advice.

The couple have found another rental home in Bungendore and are moving out of their cottage.

They are also facing financial ruin, having scraped together the money for the deposit on their home. Now they face rent and all associated costs while paying back a mortgage on a house in which they can no longer live.

The family have decided to come out publicly to illustrate the complete lack of a safety net for Mr Fluffy-affected homes in NSW. They note that if they had bought a similar home back in Canberra, they would be entitled to immediate financial help worth $14,000 and be offered a buyback of their property – almost certainly at the price they paid.

John Barilaro, the NSW Nationals member for Monaro and a member of the NSW Joint Select Committee on Loose Fill Asbestos, said this family’s case was a “worst nightmare” of NSW Mr Fluffy discoveries.

But Mr Barilaro expressed confidence that the NSW Government was poised to financially help affected families consistent with the aid rolled out by the ACT government – $10,000 for each family and $2000 per dependent child.

Given the urgency of the Mr Fluffy crisis, the committee was also bringing forward its reporting date from February to just before Christmas.

Mr Casey said: “Although we have a very uncertain new year ahead of us, it is important the NSW government provide us with the same immediate financial assistance as ACT Fluffy residents, as it would go some way to helping us regather ourselves and look forward to Christmas as a family.

“Long term, we want the NSW Government to announce the same outcome as ACT residents, for the buy-back and demolition of all Fluffy-affected houses.”

It is still unclear how many homes are affected by Mr Fluffy across NSW, apart from the 11 homes confirmed in Queanbeyan, one in Yass and one in Bungendore. NSW WorkCover is continuing to offer free assessments to suspect homes.