Page 3991 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 20 September 2017
occasions in his remarks about the potentially non-compliant use of ACPs. My question, and I would encourage members to give Mr Gentleman leave to address this issue in this debate, is: are the panels on the women’s and children’s hospital non-compliant? Yes or no? Were they installed in accordance with the building code?
We have had mixed messages. Ms Lawder has touched on this, and I have been quite fascinated, over the weeks, by the squirming from the minister for health. She gets quite indignant. “How dare you say such things? The women’s and children’s hospital is perfectly safe,” she keeps telling us. The amendment today tells us the same thing, that the women’s and children’s hospital is perfectly safe.
I will repeat Ms Lawder’s question, because it is a very valid one and the minister has not answered it. If it is safe, why do we need to remove the panels? If we need to remove the panels, how safe is the building? It is not perfectly safe if we have a need to remove the panels. And there seems to be no debate about that; everyone has said that we need to remove the panels.
The minister cannot have it both ways. It is either a safe building, and we are removing the panels for no purpose, or we need to remove the panels and that is because we have made an assessment that the building is not safe.
Let us be honest. That does not mean that we have to run round like headless chooks saying that the place is going to burn down tomorrow. That is obviously not the case. The minister said in her statement back in August that when they discovered this they augmented fire safety in the building. But the minister has not explained to us what those augmented fire safety measures are. It would be useful if the minister did that at some time, and this sounds as though it might be a really good time to do it.
I congratulate Ms Lawder for bringing this motion here today, and I congratulate Ms Lawder on her leadership on this issue. It is not just a health issue; it is an issue for the safety of all buildings in the ACT that have been built in recent years. It is very important that we are as up to date as possible, and that we are as truthful and open as possible.
Let us not prevaricate and have two bob each way: “The building is not safe but I cannot possibly say that; I cannot possibly lose face. Therefore I will assure people that it is safe when it clearly is not.” If it clearly is safe, come in here and say, “We have reconsidered the issue. We do not need to take the panelling down.”
Both the statements made by the minister cannot be held to be true at the same time. I want both ministers to be absolutely clear with the people of the ACT as to what the risks are. Were the five to 10 per cent of the panels on the women’s and children’s hospital installed in a non-compliant way? Is that the thing that makes them unsafe? And how do we rectify that, if that is the case, in relation to the women’s and children’s hospital?
I note the points that have been made by Ms Lawder. Like Ms Lawder, I am not a building expert; I am just the daughter and mother of carpenters. I know a bit about