ABC TV NEWS
Today I discussed the issue of ACT Government buildings being built with aluminium cladding with ABC news journalist Elise Scott.
On 17 August 2017 Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Mick Gentleman, tabled a statement updating the Assembly on the Aluminium Cladding Working Group.
The working group was set up to investigate the fire safety risks associated with aluminium cladding following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London that killed almost 80 people. In his statement, Minister Gentleman states that the Labor Government has “…been actively monitoring the use of aluminium cladding for over a decade…”
This statement is at odds with the fact that in 2010 the Labor Government went ahead with construction of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children using flammable cladding.
The Government needs to be open and transparent. The question is, who knew what and when? More to the point, how was this allowed to happen?
How many other government buildings were constructed using this cladding after 2009?
This government needs to be upfront about what the risks are and what they are doing about it.
The ACT Government has potentially put the lives of Canberrans, including newborn babies, in danger by allowing patients to receive medical care while covering up the fire risks associated with external aluminium cladding at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Nicole Lawder said today.
“This hospital was supposed to be the most advanced facility of its kind in Canberra but instead we have learned that it could be on the verge of a massive fire disaster at any time,” Ms Lawder said.
“By Minister Gentleman’s admission, the ACT Government was aware of the fire safety risks associated with external wall cladding before the Centenary Hospital was built.
“Centenary Hospital construction began in 2010. In the Assembly today, however, Minister Gentleman confirmed that the government was aware of the fire risks associated with the cladding used at the hospital in 2009. The fire risk was again confirmed by the directorate in 2012.
“Nevertheless, the construction of the hospital with combustible cladding was completed in 2013 and only now in 2017 has the Minister advised the combustible material is to be removed.
“For several years the hospital has been operating while the Government did nothing about this fire risk. It is a disgrace and I call on the Government to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation,” Ms Lawder concluded.
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The Canberra Liberals are deeply saddened by the loss of a former colleague and well loved Canberra identity.
Val Jeffery was a respected Canberran who devoted a great part of his life to serving the community, particularly through the Rural Fire Service.
Val was passionate about Tharwa and preserving the historical importance of rural villages in the ACT. Val always stood up for what he believed was right and never shied away from taking on authorities in pursuit of common sense.
The opportunity to serve alongside him in his political career in the Assembly was a privilege.
The Canberra Liberals’ thoughts and sympathies are with his wife Dorothy and family at this time.
The Canberra Liberals and Labor have both chosen women to take on the challenging Deputy Leaders job for their respective parties in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
ALP MLA Yvette Berry is deputy of ACT Labor, while Nicole Lawder was chosen as deputy leader of the Canberra Liberals.
Both spoke to breakfast host Louise Maher about their priorities and hopes as the 9th Assembly prepares to sit for the first time.