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.



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.

New ACT deputy political party leaders Nicole Lawder and Yvette Berry discuss their priorities

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.

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The Canberra Liberals have welcomed the government’s announcement to establish the position of the ACT’s first Chief Engineer. However, the announcement raises questions as to whether the position would function effectively by itself and without proper support, Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Nicole Lawder said today.

“Ahead of last year’s ACT Election, the Canberra Liberals committed to establishing an Engineers’ panel, to work in consultation with the government on infrastructure. The government needs to ask itself whether a sole Chief Engineer, without a supporting panel is a half-baked policy,” Ms Lawder said.

“Having an Engineers’ Panel consisting of members who have different engineering skills and knowledge bases would ensure that projects are of the highest quality and appropriately selected so that the ACT can have the best infrastructure in the country.

“This point was highlighted by Engineers Australia’s General Manager, Sydney and Canberra Divisions, Greg Ewing who said in 2016: ‘Having a Chief Engineer, together with a dedicated engineers’ panel would provide government with a real focal point, as well as help solve problems in the design phase of major projects.’

“The government would not introduce a Chief Medical Officer or a Chief Scientist without appropriate support and the government should recognise that public infrastructure is vital to a vibrant community. The government should be doing all it can to support the new role,” Ms Lawder concluded.