Page 3189 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 18 October 2022

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10 staff members of MPC who say they have witnessed corruption—not that they were worried about corruption or thought about it, but witnessed corruption. I find this result very concerning, as should every member in this place. However, what was even more concerning is that the Director-General confirmed during the estimates hearing that nothing was done in response to that survey result. Surely, a result like that would have been of great concern to those in senior positions at Major Projects Canberra. These issues call into question the management and delivery of major projects in our city—such as the Canberra Hospital Expansion, which is behind schedule by about 10 years and well over budget. These issues all go to the culture of secrecy—a culture which is set from the very top. It is Canberrans who literally pay the price for it.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (11.45): I want to speak briefly about the issue of cladding. The safety of our community is of the utmost importance, and has guided our approach to the handling of potentially combustible cladding on buildings in Canberra. The government’s cladding remediation scheme consists of two elements: a program to rectify combustible cladding on ACT owned government facilities, and the private buildings cladding scheme, to assist in the testing and remediation of potentially combustible cladding on eligible privately owned buildings.

The government has established a $50 million concession loan to enable eligible owners corporations to undertake works to remediate combustible cladding. Loans will be offered for up to 10 years, with a maximum limit of $15 million per owners corporation, and the loans are administered by an external provider, Lannock Strata Finance. The loan scheme builds on the support that the government provided to owners corporations to undertake assessments of the risk posed by potentially combustible cladding on their buildings.

In July 2021, the government announced the private buildings cladding scheme, which provides grants to eligible owners corporations of apartment buildings to undertake testing and assessment of their buildings’ cladding. The scheme assisted owners of eligible apartment buildings by providing a rebate of 50 per cent of the cost, up to a maximum of $20,000 excluding GST, to test cladding on their buildings. The government made available $1.8 million for this part of the scheme.

I am pleased to note that phase 2 of the scheme opened on 29 August 2022. Phase 2 offers a concessional loan to eligible owners to remove and replace potentially combustible cladding on their buildings. As I have noted, we have committed $50 million to phase 2 of the scheme. Owners corporations which participated in phase 1 of the scheme will be able to apply for a loan to cover all costs associated with the removal and the replacement of cladding that has been determined to be combustible. Owners corporations can have the cost of remediation of the cladding, and statutory fees such as building approvals and the professional fees of architects, engineers and project managers, included in the loan. I want to emphasise that hardship arrangements will be available to individual unit owner-occupiers who face financial difficulty. Such an owner-occupier may be able to seek hardship relief by applying to the ACT Revenue Office.

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