The Builders Collective of Australia has reiterated their demand for a Royal Commission into the national building industry following the response of Labor leader and potential future Prime Minister Bill Shorten on the issue.

Shorten has rejected calls for a Royal Commission, instead presenting a 4-point plan to mitigate the situation.

The Builders Collective of Australia had, earlier this month, called on legislators and regulators to urgently set up a Royal Commission with nationwide coverage to repair the badly broken system and put a proper compliance regime in place.

President of the Builders Collective of Australia, Phil Dwyer says, “Major high-rise buildings are just a rogue ember away from burning, others are at risk of collapse, and there are thousands of low to medium-rise buildings that have failed badly, to the point that many are uninhabitable.”

Dwyer explained that Shorten’s 4-point plan included banning polyethylene cladding, which has already been done; re-establishing the national licencing scheme that previously failed; introducing new penalties; and re-establishing the Minister for Industry.

“These rehashed, watered-down policies demonstrate that not even the Opal fiasco in Sydney, nor the near-tragedy of the Neo200 tower in Melbourne have heightened Labor’s understanding of how urgent this issue is.”

Thousands of consumers who are already impacted by conflicts of interest, poor oversight from regulatory bodies, and seeming indifference from Governments will not benefit from Labor’s plan, he noted.

“Labor’s plan also provides no assistance to those in the future watching helplessly as their homes are declared unsafe through fire, risk of collapse, mould infestation, or water ingress; or as a horrific fine is imposed for non-compliance issues emerging from a regulator’s failure to enforce existing regulations.

“In addition, Governments are withholding the location and addresses of buildings clad in the potential death-trap polyethylene cladding that decorates thousands of buildings in Australia, leaving countless owners/occupiers not knowing their lives are at risk when they go to bed each night,” Dwyer said.

Observing that the average homeowner deserved much more from the industry, its regulators, and politicians, he said all stakeholders needed to take responsibility now to arrest as many future failures as possible by taking urgent action in regard to the safety of buildings before the occurrence of a real tragedy. To continually sit by and do nothing makes those in power equally complicit, he says.

“A Royal Commission with a tight timeframe and effective terms of reference into the national building industry is urgently needed before people start losing lives,” Dwyer concluded.