July 04, 2017
Peter Khalil, the Federal Member for Wills, has called for local planning authorities to audit the safety of local developments after an apartment blaze in his electorate was attributed to the use of building cladding similar to that blamed for the Grenfell Tower disaster in London.
Mr Khalil’s calls come after ABC’s 7:30 program broadcast new information on 29 June 2017 about the incident at the Antsey Square tower in Brunswick, located in Mr Khalil’s electorate of Wills.
The ABC reported information from investigators that the Antsey Square tower fire, started by a faulty air conditioner unit, was able to spread throughout the building due to a type of combustible cladding “not suited for big apartment blocks” having been used.
“A number of my constituents have approached my office following the ABC broadcast with legitimate concerns about the safety of developments in our neighbourhoods,” said Mr Khalil.
“The tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London shone light on the issue of building material safety, but the fact that something similar was able to happen right in our backyard earlier this year has raised significant disquiet in the local community.”
“Clearly the planning authorities have a duty to ensure that developments are safe. The incident in Brunswick raises very serious questions about how safe some of these buildings really are.”
“If there are issues identified, all levels of government – local, state and federal – need to work together to ensure tougher standards are created and adhered to. This is about people’s safety. Nothing could be more important.”
The Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, has put the issue of building cladding on the political agenda.
“We have too many unlicensed and unqualified people ticking boxes and trying to pretend we have a safe system,” Shorten said on Friday.
“If the government won’t do enough and do it quickly enough, [Labor] will make this an issue. One person’s death is one too many.”
Australian building regulations will be examined by a Senate committee later this year.