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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Canberra’s combustible cladding works complete, Liberals say too ‘slow’

Works to rectify combustible cladding on ACT government-owned buildings has been officially concluded after 20 months, but the Canberra Liberals say the government ‘dragged their heels’.

The dangerous cladding has been removed and replaced on 23 public buildings in the ACT including education, community, and housing sites.

For the first time, the ACT Government have released the list of buildings which contained combustible cladding and required replacing.

Rectification works were taken on the following ACT Government buildings:

  • ACT Magistrates Court
  • Arawang Primary School
  • Belconnen Community Health Centre
  • Building 4 at Canberra Hospital
  • Building 12 at Canberra Hospital
  • Canberra High School
  • Civic Youth Centre
  • Erindale College
  • Four Housing ACT sites
  • Griffin Centre
  • Gungahlin College
  • Gungahlin Oval grandstand
  • Howard Florey House
  • Lyneham Primary School
  • Melrose High School
  • Namadgi School
  • National Convention Centre
  • Palmerston Primary
  • Tuggeranong Child And Family Centre
  • Yarralumla Primary School

More than 4,000sqm (24 tonnes) of cladding panels from education sites were removed and recycled in a local Green Star waste facility.

The recycling of the panels equates to removing 43 internal combustion engine cars from the road, saving 182 tonnes of CO2 emissions, reports the ACT Government.

ACT Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction, Rebecca Vassarotti, said the works have removed high-risk combustible cladding panels and have been replaced with materials compliant with the National Construction Code.

“Not only has this project reduced the risk posed by combustible cladding, but it’s recycling program means the materials removed from ACT Government owned buildings can be repurposed,” Ms Vassarotti said.

“The priority for the ACT Government has been to ensure ACT residents who live, work and use these buildings are not impacted by high-risk combustible cladding and this program has delivered a fantastic outcome for the Canberra community.”

Elizabeth Lee: ACT Government ‘dragged their heels’

Leader of the Canberra Liberals, Elizabeth Lee said the opposition have continually said the ACT Government have been “slow to act” on the issue of combustible cladding in the ACT.

“Despite knowing about combustible cladding since the Lacrosse Tower Fire in Melbourne in 2014, the Labor-Greens government dragged their heels on the issue, with some owners forced to take active steps to remove combustible cladding without any support,” Ms Lee said.

“I have continually called on the Minister to undertake an audit of the private buildings not tested and set a removal date for all dangerous cladding in the ACT to be replaced.

“It is incredibly frustrating for owners, strata managers and renters that this serious, life-threatening issue continues to remain unresolved. It shows an utter lack of respect and understanding by the Minister that she is still unable to provide certainty or outcomes for Canberrans that are affected.”

The Private Buildings Cladding Scheme is available to provide support to owners’ corporations of privately owned buildings to carry out risk-reduction works on eligible apartment buildings and townhouses which have moderate or higher risk cladding.

Building owners who participated in the testing and assessment phase of the scheme can now apply for a concessional loan to assist with the costs of removing and replacing combustible cladding at act.gov.au/cladding.

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