Industry Minister Karen Andrews MP must act decisively on building fire safety at tomorrow’s meeting of building industry ministers (the Building Ministers’ Forum) in Hobart.

People have a right to be safe in their homes and workplaces, and Australians rightly expect our buildings to be safe and structurally sound.

The Building Ministers’ Forum last met in August 2018. It was scheduled to reconvene in December, but the meeting never happened. 
Tomorrow’s meeting comes after the Opal Building crisis in Sydney and, most recently, the Neo200 building fire in Spencer St, Melbourne. With both, the failure of privatisation and deregulation are once again on show.
The deregulation agenda in the building industry has failed to protect public safety, but Minister Andrews still refuses to recognise this.
Australians continue to see the importation of asbestos, the installation of non-compliant fire sprinkler systems, and buildings constructed with non-compliant flammable cladding.  
On Tuesday Minister Andrews stressed the importance of the review the Forum commissioned from Professor Shergold and Ms Bronwyn Weir.
Their report has been in Minister’s hands since February last year.
Shergold and Weir recommended that the Building Ministers’ Forum prepare a three year implementation plan for their over 20 recommendations. 
But no plan has been released and the Minister let the Forum skip their December meeting.

The more recent Senate Inquiry into Non-Conforming Building Products recommended that the Building Ministers Forum act on the Shergold and Weir Report and restore integrity and accountability to the building industry.

The recommendations of both include the introduction of a national licencing scheme for building practitioners.
It’s time to restore public accountability and standards to our building industry.
This is why Labor wants greater vigilance in the inspection of building materials used in Australia and a national approach to regulation within the building and construction industry.
Building regulation will be a priority for a Shorten Labor Government.
Labor has already committed to strengthening building regulation by:

  • A total ban on the Importation, sale and use of flammable polyethylene core aluminium composite panels.
  • The establishment of a national licensing scheme for all building practitioners, with requirements for continued professional development.
  • A penalties regime for all building practitioners and companies who knowingly use non-compliant materials.

Each day the Morrison Government fails to respond to the widespread misuse of these dangerous products, more Australian lives are put at risk.
Australians deserve to feel safe – especially in their own homes and workplaces. 

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