The owners of buildings clad in potentially lethal combustible material have been left the bill after the Queensland government rejected pleas to help cover the repair cost.
Following the Grenfell Tower fire in Britain in June 2017, which killed more than 70 people, flammable cladding was found on 237 Queensland buildings, including five owned by the state.
On Tuesday, Victoria became the first state to agree to foot the bill to repair buildings with the potentially deadly material, which can burn rapidly if it catches fire.
Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said Queensland would not be following suit.
“In Queensland, building owners are responsible for rectification of their buildings,” he said.
“The companies who built these buildings, and their insurers, should pay to fix their own mistakes.
“Queensland taxpayers should not have to pay for the decisions made by developers who have led a pursuit of profit over quality and safety for decades.”
The Federal Government has also refused to fund any rectification work.
“We’re not picking up the bill for what is a state responsibility,” Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.
“The problems in relation to cladding have been a failure of compliance and enforcement at a state level.”
A statement signed by a series of industry groups including the property and insurance councils of Australia has pushed for a consistent response across states to the crisis, warning the building industry could collapse as insurance premiums skyrocket.
“Positive action has been taken in some jurisdictions, however other states are lagging and the continued inconsistency in the approach across governments is manifesting in the crisis confronting building practitioners in the building supply chain,” the statement read.
“The entire building and construction supply chain risks being further impacted by this continued uncertainty, and industry participants want to work cooperatively with governments to rebuild that confidence.
“The economy must not be put at risk by the failure to provide certainty through a consistent approach in dealing with these issues.”
Figures released by Fire Minister Craig Crawford on Monday showed Queensland Fire and Emergency Services had upgraded emergency response times on 75 of the 237 buildings.
“The decision for QFES to upgrade its response to a building is determined by a number of factors including the amount and location of non-compliant building products, building occupancy and the fire safety systems installed within the building,” a Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokeswoman said.
“QFES works with building owners to ensure suitable risk mitigation measures are in place and prioritises responses, if required.
“In some cases, a standard response may still be appropriate, whereas in other cases, a heightened level of response with greater initial resourcing and specialist vehicles will be identified for that address.”
Combustible cladding will be banned from all new Queensland buildings.
Article by Lydia Lynch – Brisbane Times – Source Link