ACT Government should stop skirting scrutiny on cladding fire safety risks

The ACT Government should stop skirting scrutiny on potential fire safety risks in all ACT public sector buildings that are fitted with combustible aluminium cladding, Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Nicole Lawder said today.

“The Government has been aware of the fire safety risks associated with combustible cladding since at least 2009,” Ms Lawder said.

“In that time, it approved construction of at least one ACT public building that we know of, the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, using the combustible cladding.

“Following the tragic London Grenfell Tower fire where 80 people were killed, the Government conceded to the fire risks by confirming it would remove the cladding from the hospital while at the same time insisting that the building is safe.

“This does not stack up and despite numerous requests from the Opposition to set the record straight, the Government has opted to avoid scrutiny and withhold what could be vital information regarding the fire safety of public buildings.

“In light of these events, I am calling on the Government today to provide to the Assembly:

 The audit report of ACT Government buildings

 All ACT Fire and Rescue reports on the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

 The recommendations of the 2017 audit of all ACT Government health buildings constructed with aluminium cladding

 The Government’s plans to mitigate fire risks and related security issues associated with existing combustible cladding on all ACT government, private and residential buildings

“I am also calling on the Government to advise the Assembly on why it approved the construction of the hospital considering the fire risk was known and why it is now removing the cladding when it insists the hospital is safe.

“You can’t have it both ways.

“To date, the Government has been evasive and uncooperative on what is a potentially life-threatening issue. Canberrans have the right to know if the building they live or work in is safe and my motion today gives the Government the opportunity to set the record straight,” Ms Lawder concluded.