Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2697 ..
(f) Master Builders Association;
(g) Owners Corporation Network;
(h) Property Council of Australia;
(j) Strata Communities Association (ACT); and
(k) NSW and Victorian Governments.
(4) The audit undertaken for ACT Government-owned buildings was possible given the ACT Government owns those buildings. For privately-owned buildings, a different approach is required. The ACT Government cannot enter private sites and undertake testing and assessment of its own volition as it did with it’s Government-owned buildings.
(5) Legal advice has been received and this advice has informed the Government’s policy settings and assistance to the private sector. The ACT Government does not propose to release that legal advice.
(6) The responsibility to identify and address any risk posed by combustible cladding lies with the owner of each building. It is the owner’s responsibility to maintain safe premises. The Scheme has been established to assist private owners to undertake testing and assessment that they are otherwise responsible for.
(7) In 2019 and 2020, ACT Fire and Rescue undertook an informal kerbside identification of buildings above two storeys that appeared to have cladding facades. They focussed on locations in the city centre, major town centres, transport corridors and areas that have experienced significant development. This data assisted the Government to understand the likely quantum of potentially affected buildings and identified around 90 apartment buildings that are 3 storeys or higher.
(8) The ACT Government has experience in having this work done on its own buildings, and has engaged extensively with stakeholders, including professional services providers, to obtain information on the likely cost of conducting testing and assessment and considers that the $20,000 (ex GST) cap will be sufficient to cover 50% of the reasonable costs of testing and assessment.
(9) Owners’ corporations that have already had inspections and assessments carried out at their own expense prior to the announcement of the grant program may be entitled to access the Scheme under criteria enabling retrospective access if they undertook the testing and assessment of their building between 27 August 2020 and 21 July 2021. The Government announced that it would fund a Scheme to address combustible cladding on 27 August 2020. Owners corporations who undertook testing and assessment activities prior to 27 August 2020 may be eligible for participation in the future second ‘rectification’ phase of the scheme.
(10) The Government has not sought advice from the Canberra Economic Recovery Advisory Group.
(11) The Government will not be entering into the provision or support of insurance coverage for private apartment buildings. There is a competitive national market for building insurance and combustible cladding is a well-known issue. A comprehensive testing and assessment report as an outcome of the first phase of this Scheme should assist Strata Managers and Owners Corporations to have well-informed discussions with insurance companies.