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Standard fact sheet.

Assistance for owners and tenants 

For properties containing loose-fill asbestos 

Homeowners and tenants whose homes contain loose-fill asbestos insulation may be eligible for financial assistance through the Voluntary Purchase and Demolition Program (the Program).

For homeowners, this may include access to a stamp duty concession as well as funding to help pay for relocation expenses, counselling, independent legal advice and soft furnishings. More information on assistance and eligibility is detailed below.

Relocation assistance 

Financial relocation assistance will be provided to affected owner-occupiers and tenants named on the residential lease that were residing in an affected property on 29 June 2015 when the Program was announced.

Relocation assistance includes:

  • Owner-occupiers: up to $10,000, plus an additional $2,000 per dependent child living in an affected property (to a maximum of two children)
  • Tenants: $1,000 per tenant named on the residential lease.

Relocation assistance will only be paid to homeowners after a property is sold to the NSW Government, after vacation following a licence being granted for the NSW Government to enter the property and demolish the affected premises, or to tenants once they have vacated the premises. Only one payment is available per property.

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Dependants 

To be considered a dependant, a child will need to fit into one of the following categories:

  • a child aged 5 or under
  • a child aged 6 to 18 and enrolled in full-time education or training
  • a child aged over 18 and enrolled in full-time education or training
  • a child aged over 18 with a disability and primary dependence on the homeowner.

In addition to meeting one or more of the above categories, the dependant must have been permanently residing (spent 50 percent or more of the time) in the affected home as at 29 June 2015.

A dependant child cannot also be an eligible homeowner or a tenant named on a residential lease for an affected home.

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Soft furnishings assistance 

The Program will provide up to $1,000 as a contribution towards the replacement of soft furnishings and/or porous materials like clothes, curtains or linen for owner-occupiers and tenants.

Eligibility for soft furnishings assistance is determined on the same basis as relocation assistance.

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Investors 

Owners of affected properties who have not tenanted their property can receive a financial assistance payment of $10,000. To be eligible to receive this assistance, the following criteria must be met:

  • A financial institution must hold a mortgage over the affected property;
  • The property must have been vacant for a continuous period of at least five months since whichever is the later of:
    • the owner(s) receiving confirmation that the property is affected by loose-fill asbestos insulation; or
    • the Voluntary Purchase and Demolition Program announcement date of 29 June 2015;
  • The owner must have sold the affected property to the NSW Government or have granted a licence to the NSW Government to enter the property and demolish the affected premises.

Only one investor assistance payment will be made per property. Owners who have received a relocation assistance payment are not eligible to receive the investor assistance payment and vice versa.

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Rural property owners 

Owners of properties that are larger than two hectares (i.e. properties where only Option 2 – Retain Land is available) will be provided with an assistance payment of $15,000.

To be eligible to receive this payment, the owner must have granted a licence to the NSW Government to enter their property and demolish the affected premises and must have vacated the affected premises. Only one rural property owner assistance payment will be paid per property.

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Independent legal advice 

We encourage homeowners participating in the Program to be as informed as possible. It is recommended that eligible homeowners obtain independent legal advice in relation to the purchase and demolition process.

The Program will provide up to $1,000 in financial assistance per household to obtain legal advice. Financial assistance for independent legal advice is not available for tenants.

To be eligible, the applicant must have owned the property on 29 June 2015 and the property must have a positive test result for loose-fill asbestos that has been verified and confirmed by Fair Trading.

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Stamp duty concession 

Homeowners who sell an affected property to the NSW Government under the Program are entitled to a stamp duty concession on the purchase of a residential property in NSW.

You may apply to the Office of State Revenue to receive this concession once a binding agreement with the Government to purchase their property has been entered into. The exchange of the contract of sale is an example of when a binding agreement has been entered into.

The value of the concession is equal to the value of the stamp duty that would have been payable by the NSW Government when it purchased the affected property. You can only use the concession once, and the concession cannot reduce the value of duty payable below zero (i.e. you cannot receive a refund).

Example 1: if the NSW Government would have been liable for $20,000 of stamp duty by purchasing your home, then you purchase a new property with $25,000 stamp duty payable, you will only be required to pay $5,000.

Example 2: if the NSW Government would have been liable for $20,000 of stamp duty by purchasing your home, then you purchase a property with $15,000 stamp duty payable, you will not be required to pay any stamp duty.

The value of stamp duty is calculated as a percentage of the sale price. More information on stamp duty is available on the Duties concession for persons who have transferred property affected by loose-fill asbestos insulation to the State of NSW page on the NSW Office of State Revenue website or by calling 02 9689 6200.

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Assistance from utility providers and financial institutions 

We have approached utility providers and financial institutions seeking their assistance for affected owners. Assistance will vary depending on the individual situation.

We encourage owners and/or residents of affected premises to contact their bank, credit union or other financial institution, insurer and utility providers to discuss their situation as early as possible.

Contact details have been provided by the following financial institutions:

Should you require a letter for your insurer, financial institution or utility provider from Fair Trading concerning your involvement in the Program, please contact your case manager.

We will continue to liaise with utility providers, financial institutions and insurers.

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Taxation considerations 

The tax implications of participating in the Program will vary depending on your situation: 

  • Owner-occupiers: if the property has been used solely as your main residence for the entire period of ownership, there are no tax implications for the disposal of your property.
  • Investment property owners: there are tax implications if you participate in the Program. These will depend on your circumstances, including whether the property was ever used as your main residence and how long you have owned it. Specific information for investment property owners is available on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website at www.ato.gov.au. The ATO also encourages investment property owners to contact them for personalised advice. Visit the Tax implications for property owners webpage on the ATO website to request a callback from an ATO subject matter expert within one business day.

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Counselling services 

Some homeowners and residents may experience stress and anxiety as a result of having a home with loose-fill asbestos. The Program offers financial support for up to five sessions of counselling per household, to the value of $850. Both owners and tenants are eligible to receive this assistance, but where there are multiple owners or tenants, only one payment will be made to owners and only one payment will be made to tenants.The payment is for fees not covered by Medicare and/or private health insurance.

To be eligible, the applicant must be the homeowner or tenant of an affected property that has a positive test result for loose-fill asbestos that has been verified and confirmed by Fair Trading.

NSW Health recommends individuals that require counselling support discuss their circumstances with their general practitioner in the first instance, as they are in a position to recommend the most appropriate support.

Options available from general practitioners include:

  • Referral to a mental health practitioner under a Mental Health Treatment Plan, which covers 10 sessions a year under Medicare
  • Referral for private counselling/psychological assessment.

Other community services available to affected residents:

LifeLine
Tel: 13 11 14
A 24-hour counselling, information and referral service. Local call cost from a landline; free from mobiles
www.lifeline.org.au

Mental Health Line
Tel: 1800 011 511
A 24-hour telephone service, operating seven days a week across NSW

beyondblue
Tel: 1300 224 636
A national, independent not-for-profit organisation. Online and telephone support and counselling. Information on depression, anxiety and related disorders, available treatments and where to get help
www.beyondblue.org.au

Kids Helpline
Tel: 1800 551 800
Online and telephone counselling for children aged between 5 and 25 years of age
www.kidshelp.com.au

eheadspace
Tel: 1800 650 980
Online and telephone support and counselling to young people 12-25 years of age
www.eheadspace.org.au

Mindhealthconnect
Online self-help programs
www.mindhealthconnect.org.au

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Frequently asked questions 

What if there are exceptional circumstances?

Applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to ensure financial assistance is paid to meet the objectives of the Program. Fair Trading may, in exceptional circumstances, pay financial assistance where the eligibility requirements are not met.

If you believe there are exceptional circumstances, contact your Case Manager to discuss your situation.

How long do I have to apply for financial assistance?

Homeowners can elect to sell their property to the government (Option 1) or permit the Government to demolish the affected premises in exchange for payment and retain their land (Option 2).

Under Option 1, homeowners will sign a Contract for Sale of Land, and under Option 2, homeowners will sign a Licence Agreement.

Homeowners and tenants of affected properties can apply for financial assistance up to 12 months from the date of the Contract of Sale of Land or Licence Agreement.

How do I apply?

To apply for financial assistance, fill out the relevant form(s) and post to:

NSW Loose-fill Asbestos Implementation Taskforce
PO Box 972
Parramatta NSW 2124

Alternatively, you can scan and send the form by email to: AsbestosTaskforce@finance.nsw.gov.au

You can access the following financial assistance application forms from the Fair Trading website:

How is my application assessed?

We will assess your application in accordance with the requirements set out above. We may contact you to request further information or documentation to support your application.

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