Tasmanian Government accused of inaction on cladding fire risk by Labor
THE State Government is dragging its feet on reducing the fire risk posed by combustible cladding on Tasmanian buildings, Labor says.
Polyethylene core aluminium composite panels were blamed for the severity of the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London which killed 72 people, as well as fires in two Melbourne apartment towers.
TALKING POINT: TASMANIAN BUILDINGS AT RISK OF INFERNO
Building and Construction spokeswoman Jen Butler said eight Ministerial Council meetings over the past five years had discussed the issue but the Hodgman Government had failed to address it.
A crossbench Federal Senate Inquiry in 2017 recommended “a total ban on the importation, sale and use of polyethylene core aluminium composite panels as a matter of urgency”.
Ms Butler said an audit had identified 42 Tasmanian buildings with some level of risk including the new Parliament Square building and a university accommodation block in Hobart.
“Those buildings are classified as low risk due to adequate sprinkler systems and fire exits but the fact is there is no such thing as an acceptable risk,” she said.
“The Neo200 apartment complex in Melbourne was also classified as low risk but it was the scene of a devastating fire in January this year.
“The only effort that the Building and Construction Minister Elise Archer has made has been an effort to downplay the seriousness of this issue.”
But Building and Construction Minister Elise Archer accused the Opposition of “scaremongering”.
“The 2018 audit commissioned by the Government found these 42 buildings to be low risk, and stated that ‘the use of aluminium composite panel results in no additional risk to fire safety for those buildings’,” she said.
“It is important to remember all buildings are flammable and that appropriate risk assessment and management is always important, and in the case of these 42 identified buildings that risk is considered low.
“The Government’s advice is that the Tasmania Fire Service is fully prepared and can deploy appropriate tactics to deal with firefighting in tall buildings, including those that have a diverse range of flammable materials, such as aluminium composites.”