BEREJIKLIAN GOVERNMENT HAS QUESTIONS TO ANSWER OVER POTENTIAL FIRE TRAP BUILDINGS

The State Liberal Government must explain what if any steps it has taken to ensure all high-rise buildings in NSW are not potential death traps like the tower block in London that burned yesterday tragically claiming 12 lives.

Two years ago the NSW Opposition revealed through a freedom of information request that up to 2,500 buildings might be clad in a non-compliant material that is suspected as acting as an accelerant for the London fire.

The Minister responsible at the time, Victor Dominello, didn’t know which buildings had used the highly flammable cladding, often known as Alucobest, but told Parliament that an analysis had been underway for a year. The Government has yet to release this information.

This uncertainty and lack of industry regulation by the Liberal National Government is leaving people wondering if their building might be affected.

While Alucobest is the best known of the combustible aluminum claddings other similar products have also been left unregulated. They are indistinguishable by sight from other similar building materials. The dangers of buildings wrapped in the aluminum cladding became an issue – both domestically and internationally – following two major incidents; one in November 2014 at a fire in Melbourne’s Docklands which caused $2 million worth of damage, and another in January 2015 when a hotel in Dubai was rapidly engulfed in flames.

Yet despite the warnings – and constant questions by the NSW Opposition - the State Government’s only response to date is a two-page FYI brochure to the building industry (see attached page 41).

In Victoria, government body the Victorian Building Authority worked with builders to track where Alucobest has been used and ensure the community has been consulted and the risk minimised.

Today NSW Labor calls on the minister responsible to further update the community on the following:

- What steps it has taken to identify the buildings;

- What measures it has put in place to prevent such a tragedy from occurring in NSW;

- And undertake an urgent audit of all buildings in NSW suspected of containing non-complaint materials.

Quotes attributable Shadow Minister for Better Regulation Yasmin Catley

“This Government has known for two years that up to 2,500 buildings might be clad in this material yet its response to date has been frankly disturbing.

“We are at this point today where we simply don’t know the dangers that are lurking in some high rise buildings because the Liberal Government is adverse to regulation or intervention.

“It is not good enough for the Government to just send out a memo to councils warning them and cross its fingers. It is negligent and lazy.”

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