Flammable Cladding

A fire-damaged Melbourne tower block covered in combustible cladding. (source: The Guardian Australia)

 

In reaction to the 2017 Grenfell tragedy in the UK, the NSW government created the Fire Safety and External Wall Cladding Taskforce to "ensure that fire safety for residential buildings are prioritised and properly addressed".

This taskforce required buildings to register and required councils to maintain lists of properties with cladding. These lists are unfortunately being kept secret from the public.

Greens MLC David Shoebridge made GIPA (freedom of information) requests to local councils across the state in order to make these lists public. In response, the NSW government outrageously advised local councils to invoke terrorism fears to keep the list of buildings with flammable cladding secret.

Thanks to some councils releasing this information, we know that buildings in the Newtown electorate do contain combustible flammable cladding include commercial and residential buildings as well as buildings at the University of Sydney

Our office wrote to the Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation in June 2019 about this issue asking what was being done in relation to the large number of buildings which are now registered on the Cladding Register. We called on the Minister to ensure that local councils were adequately resourced to fund the assessments and rectification orders required to manage this issue. 

We were informed that of some 2000 properties on the Register, 200 buildings in the Sydney city and Newtown area at present require priority additional inspections.

As part of the process to to address any potential fire safety risks associated with these non-compliant building products, the NSW government has established a Special Delivery Unit which is co-ordinating efforts by Local Councils and the NSW Fire Safety and External Wall Cladding Taskforce to expedite priority assessments.

The target is to achieve assessments by local councils on all priority buildings by the end of 2019 and to either declare them as safe or to have taken specific formal action with building owners.

By March 2020, councils which have high rise residential buildings should have their interim fire safety measures agreed to and implemented along with the delivery of detailed action plans by building owners. 

You can find more information about what the NSW Government has done so far on this issue here

If you are concerned about whether you building has combustible cladding, you should contact the Department of Fair Tradingcontact your local council,your landlord or building manager.

In April 2021, the NSW government released the findings from the cladding product safety panel regarding which replacement products are safe or too risky.

The Greens are calling on the State Government to better resource impacted homeowners to make their properties safe.


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