The Turnbull Liberal Government has once again failed to act to restore safety in the building and construction industry.
The government’s response to the Senate interim report into cladding, tabled last night, continues the cycle of buck passing that is the hallmark of this government’s attitude to this critical issue of public safety.
In September last year the Senate recommended that the Turnbull Government take urgent action to stop the widespread use of non-compliant, highly flammable aluminium composite panels in thousands of Australian buildings.
Last night, seemingly unfazed by their inaction on this issue, the Turnbull Government chose to adopt only two of the Senate’s eight recommendations and has flatly rejected the most significant and easily implemented:
The Government’s response also claims that the Federal Safety Commissioner is ‘adequately resourced to carry out its functions’ despite the Commissioner, Alan Edwards telling the Senate inquiry the complete opposite in a hearing last year:
“I do not have the resources or the expertise … I have 25 people but as you can imagine there are thousands of building approvals.”
Senate Economics Committee – 14 July 2017
Labor takes building safety seriously. That’s why last year we announced a suite of measures to improve building fire safety that we will implement in government. Labor will:
]Ban the importation, future sale and use of highly flammable polyethylene (PE) cladding.
Establish a national licencing scheme for all building practitioners, with requirements for continued professional development.
Introduce a new penalties regime for all building practitioners who breach the National Construction Code.
Re-establish the Minister for Industry – not the junior Minister – as the Chair of the Building Ministers’ Forum.
Public safety is a fundamental responsibility of government.
The Liberals have once again proven that they are both unwilling and incapable of restoring public accountability for public safety in the building industry.