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Archer must stop downplaying cladding risk to safety, jobs and construction industry

  • No risk is an acceptable risk
  • 42 Tasmanian buildings do not have sufficient compliance with Australian Standards
  • Public safety issue now having a broad effect on Tasmanian building industry

The Hodgman Liberal Government’s refusal to act on the potential fire risk to Tasmanian buildings with combustible cladding is having a damaging effect on the state’s building industry.

Shadow Minister for Building and Construction Jen Butler said despite at least eight Ministerial Council meetings over the past five years where the serious cladding issue was raised, the Hodgman Government had failed to address it.

A cross-bench Federal Senate Inquiry in 2017 recommended “a total ban on the importation, sale and use of Polyethylene core aluminum composite panels as a matter of urgency.”

“The Hodgman Government has been acutely aware of this issue since 2014 as well as the findings of an audit in January 2018 which identified 42 Tasmanian buildings where Aluminum Composite Panels have been used in construction,” Ms Butler said.

“Those buildings are classified as low risk due to adequate sprinkler systems and fire exits but the fact is there is no such thing as an acceptable risk.

“The Neo200 apartment complex in Melbourne was also classified as low risk but it was the scene of a devastating fire in January this year.

“The only effort that the Building and Construction Minister Elise Archer has made has been an effort to downplay the seriousness of this issue.

“Ms Archer needs to focus on the fire risk instead of making her focus spin and finally understand this serious public safety issue is also a growing and serious economic issue.

“It is having a serious impact on the broader building industry because building surveyors have seen insurance costs skyrocket.

“That means they will go out of business and the knock-on effect of that is unacceptable delays in having buildings and developments approved.

“The Government risks significant job losses if the hundreds of developments in the pipeline for surveying companies grind to a standstill.

“If Ms Archer’s inaction is allowed to drag on, she is putting at risk thousands of Tasmanian construction jobs.”

Jen Butler MP
Shadow Minister for Building and Construction