The United Firefighters Union has expressed concern about the Federal Government’s inaction on regulating the dangerous use of flammable cladding in the building industry.
The devastating fire at the Grenfell Tower in London last year had prompted an investigation by the Federal Government into the use of flammable cladding in Australian buildings. However, former assistant industry minister Craig Laundy who was looking into this issue, was promoted to Small Business Minister in a Cabinet reshuffle last year.
The Firefighters Union is now blaming the Federal Government for ignoring an important public safety issue with no resolution in sight about regulating the use of flammable cladding in buildings.
The national secretary of the Union, Peter Marshall, said he was worried about the uncertainty around the issue. Minimising property damage and preventing loss of life during a fire involving flammable cladding were major challenges, and this uncertainty would only lead to more delays.
Calling for a national approach to regulation on the issue, he added that it didn’t make sense for various states to have different rules for flammable cladding.
Despite his new responsibilities as Small Business Minister, Laundy will continue to examine the cladding issue, his office said.
Important steps have been taken on the issue of flammable cladding with a new pilot program tracking the movement of the material in New South Wales; legislation amendments in Queensland; and building compliance and enforcement efforts taken by jurisdictions including cladding audits and reviews underway across various states.
The Federal Government is expected to meet with State Governments in April.