Page 3996 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 20 September 2017
However, I strongly emphasise that this is a precautionary measure. In fact, it demonstrates ACT Health’s commitment to ensuring the safety of each and every one of the people who visit, stay or work in the facility, and it responds to incidents both nationally and internationally. Further, I again advise the Assembly that preliminary planning for remediation works to affected parts of the hospital is currently underway.
I also take the opportunity, as was noted, to remind members that there is high demand for both the relevant workforce and replacement materials. ACT Health, as I have said, are assessing the implications of early removal of those existing panels to determine if a short-term solution might be suitable prior to full cladding replacement while balancing the risk and impact of unintended consequences of early removal, such as building watertightness and warranty issues.
As I have previously advised the Assembly, these works are expected to commence later this year. Planning for remediation works will take into consideration—as the opposition are often very keen to remind us—the need for proper tender processes, statements of requirements, procurement of specialist services and products as well as subsequent building works. I note that both members of the opposition who have spoken to the motion said we should simply remove them and over order if we need to. That just demonstrates that they want to have it every which way possible when talking about their views on what the government should do and the way in which the government should approach these matters.
I have said repeatedly that I specifically asked ACT Health to advise by the end of September on the risks or otherwise of removing the panels before replacement panels are available. The opposition would be the first to weigh in with criticism if I required or demanded that ACT Health remove the panels and then found that there were risks which we had not considered. They would be the first to criticise me for making a poor decision without advice from experts. And I will not do that. I look forward to continuing to update the Assembly on progress of the removal of the cladding and confirming time frames for remediation.
As I have also advised the Assembly on a number of occasions, ACT Health has comprehensive safety measures and emergency procedures in place for the Centenary hospital together with a robust fire suppression system to respond to a fire emergency. I thank Mr Rattenbury for acknowledging that it has been mentioned on a number of occasions, but I am very happy to again mention it today. This includes: internal sprinklers throughout the building; fire drenches over windows within three metres of a fire compartment; passive fire and smoke compartments, for example, fire doors, spray fireproofing and ventilation shaft dampers; and, of course, smoke alarms, fire hose reels and fire extinguishers.
As previously stated, the facade cladding panels are decorative but have been installed above a galvanised steel, watertight and fire-rated membrane, which also complied with the relevant codes at the time of issue of the final certificates of occupancy and use. ACT Health also regularly conducts fire system checks on the Centenary hospital and is in regular contact with members of the ACT Emergency Services Agency and the Access Canberra building regulator. I can confirm that these agencies have