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    Labor slams Turnbull government over PE cladding ‘inaction’

    Branko Miletic

    According to federal opposition leader Bill Shorten, the Turnbull government “must commit to banning the importation of highly flammable polyethylene (PE) cladding to protect Australians in their homes and workplaces.”

    “If Mr. Turnbull fails to act”, says Shorten, “a Shorten Labor government will impose a ban as matter of urgency upon taking office.”

    “The Liberals have sat on their hands on this issue for three years,” according to an ALP press release, which also added that “Assistant Industry Minister Craig Laundy has repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of building fire safety since the Grenfell tragedy,” he says.

    The opposition says that this “clearly suggests that the Malcolm Turnbull and his government are willing to leave the safety of our buildings and the welfare of Australians to chance”.

    “The Liberals have completely washed their hands of responsibility for public safety,” the ALP leader goes on to claim.

    Others have echoed Labor’s call, including the Property Council of Australia, which months ago also called for an importation ban and an audit of existing buildings.

    The Queensland state government declared today’s Building Ministers’ Forum as ‘D-Day’ and says it will push for the adoption of a national ban of PE cladding.  

    The deregulation agenda in the building industry that has been underway since the 1990s has failed to protect public safety and it is time to restore public accountability, according to Labor.

    “Each day the Turnbull Government fails to respond to the widespread misuse of these dangerous products, more Australian lives are being put at risk,” says Shorten.

    “Malcolm Turnbull must bring an end to the regulatory buck passing and shirking his responsibility to protect the Australian public.”

    “Labor will not sit back and do nothing while tens of thousands of Australia’s buildings remain clad in dangerous material that puts Australian lives at risk,” Shorten says.
    “Failing to act is not an option,” he says.

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