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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3755 ..

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (5.09): I am really pleased today to speak on the combustible cladding rectification program that is part of this output.

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. I am pleased that this budget delivers $14.536 million to be provided through the budget over the next two years to continue the program of rectification works on ACT government buildings.

There are 23 ACT government-owned buildings that require cladding rectification. Work for 21 of those is being undertaken by Major Projects Canberra and is funded through this budget allocation. Work for two was undertaken by the Education Directorate. Of the 23 ACT government buildings, work on 11 buildings is now complete. Work on the final 10 buildings will commence in this financial year, and we are planning for this to be completed by September 2022. This will complete the program for ACT government buildings.

We are also delivering the Private Buildings Cladding Scheme. I am pleased that this budget delivers $3.07 million over two years to establish and administer a rebate scheme to support eligible private building owners to test for potentially combustible cladding on their apartment buildings. This is the first phase of the Private Buildings Cladding Scheme that is being managed by Major Projects Canberra. It will be followed by a second phase of the scheme where concessional loans will be made available to eligible building owners. This budget funding will enable rebates of 50 per cent of the cost of testing and assessment services per building—up to $20,000 excluding GST per building. The funding in the budget also includes necessary legal advice, communication and administrative costs to government.

ACT Fire and Rescue undertook an initial kerbside identification of apartment buildings three storeys or higher which may contain combustible cladding. They have identified around 90 buildings that appear to have cladding. We cannot be sure if they do have combustible cladding until they are tested, and this is the basis of our budget calculations. There may be more eligible projects that have not been identified by ACT Fire and Rescue kerbside processes, and some of the 90 buildings may not, in fact, contain combustible cladding.

I encourage all eligible owner corporations to consider participating in this voluntary scheme. The expected outcome is that each building accepted into the scheme will have a professional assessment of its combustible cladding; understand if there is a fire risk; and, if there is, understand what is required to remediate their building.

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (5.12): This budget is a big one for Major Projects Canberra, with the government investing in an additional 26 full-time equivalent staff compared to last year’s budget.

The pipeline for Major Projects in Canberra is ambitious. Stage 1 of light rail was delivered on time and under budget, and I am eager to see delivery of light rail stage 2

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