Page 1956 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022
MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction), by leave: In the last sitting there were a couple of questions and also a private member’s motion talking about community safety around potentially-combustible cladding.
Particularly given that this is a matter of community safety, I note there were a couple of comments made suggesting that in relation to apartment buildings thousands of Canberrans were at risk from potentially-combustible cladding—
Ms Lee: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: this is about question time. Is this matters arising out of question time?
MADAM SPEAKER: My understanding is it was in—
Ms Lee: She also said that there was a private member’s motion. If the minister wants to respond, then she should bring a motion forward as opposed to—
MADAM SPEAKER: An easier way forward is that you seek leave to provide some comments, Ms Vassarotti.
Statement by minister
MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (2.56), by leave: Thank you for granting leave. I did want to address some of the issues that were dealt with in terms of the questions on notice as well as in other business, particularly given the fact that this is an issue of community safety.
There were comments made that thousands of Canberrans are at risk of potentially-combustible cladding, and there was an impression created that the government has not been meeting its obligations around community safety. This is not true, and it may have caused the community concern that I feel we need to clear up.
Intensive investigation has ultimately resulted in less than 100 buildings being identified as, potentially, being impacted by potentially-combustible cladding. Those owners corporations have been made aware they are eligible for assistance to test their cladding and they have engaged with the government on this issue.
I want to be really clear that this is not an issue for buildings that were constructed after changes to the National Construction Code that were made in 2018. Fundamentally, owners corporations are responsible for ensuring their buildings are safe. Governments, including ours, have acted to prevent cladding being used inappropriately once issues were identified. We are meeting our own obligations as