Government refuses to act on dangerous cladding

Combustible cladding material burning
Contributed from Queensland

Everyone knows about the horror of London’s Grenfell Tower fire last June that killed at least 80 people and that the fault was the use of flammable cladding.

Fewer people are aware that similar cladding has been used extensively in Australia.

Regardless, the Turnbull government has failed since June to do anything about it., even though it poses a clear threat of this type of cladding, on the questionable grounds that scaring people is “not the answer”.

However, state ministers with the responsibility, will on Friday consider, an urgent ban on the sale, use and import of  in Australia, of cladding with a polyethylene core between two sheets of aluminium.

Even if imports are stopped, as they should be, a significant proportion of the cladding is made in Australia. This will not come to an end, unless measures are taken to ban its use. There is also the need to compel the removable of the hazardous substances from existing buildings and other uses that might put the public in danger. This has been done with asbestos and it needs to be done with the flammable cladding.

The Turnbull government must be aware of the risk, but keeps on refusing to do a single thing. On top of this, building companies are breaching the government’s own building code, in terms of the use of combustible materials.  Given this, why isn’t anything done to hold companies breaching this code to account and compel rectification of the risk?

The Property Council of Australia has also backed an importation ban and audit of existing buildings.

By failing to act and to act decisively, the government is inviting the accusation of colluding with builders and placing a higher priority on helping them save them dollars, ahead of the lives of those who are put at risk.





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