The NSW Legislative Council has received a list of buildings that may potentially have flammable cladding; however, the public will not have access to this information as the list has been deemed a security risk by the state government.
The cladding register was created by a special taskforce after auditing over 185,000 building records. The list includes buildings that have been confirmed to have combustible cladding as well as those assessed as ‘at-risk’ by Fire and Rescue NSW.
The government has cited security concerns for their decision to keep the cladding list private. According to the Department of Customer Service, these buildings could be at risk of arson and terrorist acts. Releasing the highly sensitive information could also hurt the interests of property owners and potentially mislead the public.
Meanwhile, the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union of NSW has criticised the government for withholding the cladding list from the public. The union believes that the people who live or work in the listed buildings should know about the potential risk.
In a new report, the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has called for the Federal Government to harmonise construction laws nationwide so that the current crisis of confidence in the apartment building sector could be addressed. The union blames the national construction crisis on the failure of successive federal and state governments to properly regulate the industry, wasting billions of dollars and endangering lives.
CFMEU construction and general division national secretary Dave Noonan says the crisis has cost $6.2 billion in building defects, remediation and associated costs, while Australian governments have wasted $10.8 billion in the last ten years due to a lack of expertise.
The CFMEU has made three key recommendations to the Federal Government to resolve the construction crisis. In addition to nationally consistent construction laws to help improve outcomes across Australia, the union also recommended that state and territory governments require building companies to have a history of site safety, ensure timely delivery and pay all workers’ entitlements and wages. Additionally, governments would have to prove value for money in projects that receive federal funding.
The report also suggests that the federal government should use the billions of dollars in federal infrastructure funding as leverage to ensure better compliance by state governments.
Federal industry minister Karen Andrews has said state governments are already working together on a consistent approach to implement the recommendations of the Shergold-Weir Building Confidence report.
The State Government has also initiated action to restore confidence in the construction industry, says NSW minister for better regulation Kevin Anderson. Measures include new legislation that would register thousands of building and design professionals to ensure they work in compliance with national building codes, and a NSW Cladding Support Unit to work with councils to expedite the assessment of the high risk buildings in the cladding list.