Labor Government should reveal plans to mitigate widespread fire risks

The Labor Government should reveal its plans to mitigate fire risks at Canberra schools, hospitals and public housing buildings that are fitted with flammable cladding, Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Nicole Lawder said today.

Planning Minister Mick Gentleman tabled in the Assembly this week a report on aluminium composite cladding. The report identified 46 ACT public school buildings, a number of ACT health buildings (including four on the hospital campus), and seven ACT Housing sites were constructed with combustible cladding.

The accompanying report on the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, Combustible façade cladding ­– preliminary fire and safety assessment, identifies fire risks associated with the cladding and recommends its removal.

“Public buildings that shelter Canberra’s newborn babies, women, children, the sick and ACT public servants, have been exposed to a potential fire risk,” Ms Lawder said.

“The Labor Government has been aware of the fire risks associated with flammable cladding since 2009.

“The Health Minister has assured Canberrans that the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children is safe even though it is fitted with combustible cladding.

“This independent report refutes the Minister’s repetitive assurances that the hospital is safe.

“The Labor Government has been evasive on this issue and the documents produced this week came after months of strong pressure from the Opposition.

“Members of the public have the right to know whether the buildings they visit, work, or send their children to school in, are at risk of fire.

“Fire risks stretch much further than the Government had previously advised; it is imperative that the Government make public its plans to mitigate risk immediately,” Ms Lawder concluded.