The ACT Government should stop skirting scrutiny on potential fire safety risks in all ACT public sector buildings that are fitted with combustible aluminium cladding, Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Nicole Lawder said today.
“The Government has been aware of the fire safety risks associated with combustible cladding since at least 2009,” Ms Lawder said.
“In that time, it approved construction of at least one ACT public building that we know of, the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, using the combustible cladding.
“Following the tragic London Grenfell Tower fire where 80 people were killed, the Government conceded to the fire risks by confirming it would remove the cladding from the hospital while at the same time insisting that the building is safe.
“This does not stack up and despite numerous requests from the Opposition to set the record straight, the Government has opted to avoid scrutiny and withhold what could be vital information regarding the fire safety of public buildings.
“In light of these events, I am calling on the Government today to provide to the Assembly:
“I am also calling on the Government to advise the Assembly on why it approved the construction of the hospital considering the fire risk was known and why it is now removing the cladding when it insists the hospital is safe.
“You can’t have it both ways.
“To date, the Government has been evasive and uncooperative on what is a potentially life-threatening issue. Canberrans have the right to know if the building they live or work in is safe and my motion today gives the Government the opportunity to set the record straight,” Ms Lawder concluded.
Labor-Greens Government should stop rates increases
The ACT Government should halt its destructive rates increases and table in the Assembly the Treasury analysis of the financial and social impacts of its rates reform package, Leader of the Opposition Alistair Coe said today.
“Hundreds of Canberra residents have contacted the Opposition expressing concern over the ACT Government’s drastic and continuing rates increases,” Mr Coe said.
“The sentiment is shared and the message is clear: young people, families and the elderly are suffering and are struggling to make ends meet because of the Barr Government’s insatiable appetite to increase rates.
“The Labor-Greens Government residential general rates increase of 12 per cent imposes serious financial pressure on home owners.
“This comes on top of an 18 per cent increase in land tax revenue, placing a further burden on owners and tenants.
“Meanwhile, the Government has compounded the problem by reducing rates, energy and water concessions from those who need it most.
“I fear the Government has not counted the human cost of its rates reform package.
“Despite the negative impact, the Government has budgeted further increases. Residential general rates will increase by 11 per cent in 2018-19, nine per cent in 2019-20, and a further nine per cent in 2020-21.
“Every day Canberrans have had their finances hijacked by the Chief Minister’s rates reform package. It is imperative that the Government halt its rates reform and present to the Assembly an analysis on its financial and social impacts no later than September 21,” Mr Coe concluded.
Following on from my post about the vandalism of toilets at Calwell Playing Fields recently, The RiotACT have written an article on the incident, follow the link below.
This week in the Legislative Assembly I will be bringing forward a proposal to address the safety concerns of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians accessing Mount Taylor. We need to improve the safety of the parking area and surrounding amenities, Member for Brindabella Mark Parton said today.
“Mt Taylor is an invaluable recreational asset for the whole of the Canberra community with a growing number of Canberrans enjoying it regularly,” Mr Parton said.
“Thousands of residents and visitors to Canberra are drawn to Mt Taylor for its spectacular views, walking and cycling trails.
“However, as Mt Taylor’s popularity increases, concern is growing over the lack of infrastructure to facilitate pedestrian, cyclist or motorist safety when entering or departing the Mt Taylor parking area.
“In light of these concerns, I will call on the government in the Assembly this week to improve safe entry and exits points to Mt Taylor and to plan the construction of additional features that would improve public safety such as a bike lane, footpath, clear signage and lighting.
“Specifically, I am calling on the government to:
“I understand Labor member Chris Steel has been in conversation with residents who have shared similar concerns and so I am hopeful that I will have his and the government’s full support to implement these vital improvements to public safety.
“I hope to see the thousands of Canberra residents who visit Mt Taylor enjoy its beauty and recreational assets without fear for their safety,” Mr Parton concluded.
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.