A Shorten Labor Government will better protect Australians in their homes and workplaces by improving fire safety in buildings, including:
· The establishment of a national licencing scheme for all building practitioners, with requirements for continued professional development.
· A new penalties regime for all building practitioners who breach the National Construction Code.
· The re-establishment of the Minister for Industry – not the Assistant Minister – as the Chair of the Building Ministers’ Forum.
These measures complement Labor’s announcement last week that a Shorten Labor Government would ban the importation, future sale and use of highly flammable polyethylene (PE) cladding.
Last week Mr Turnbull was given an opportunity to work in a bi-partisan manner to improve the safety of buildings in which Australians work and live, but he has again failed to act.
Only Labor remains focussed on safety in the building industry, for workers and the public alike.
We already know how dangerous flammable cladding can be. We need to do everything we can to protect Australians from a tragedy like Grenfell in the United Kingdom and Lacrosse tower fire in Melbourne.
The non-compliant use of dangerous flammable cladding on Australian buildings demonstrates that our building standards need urgent reform, and this is what a Shorten Labor Government is committed to achieving.
The regulatory and enforcement regime is broken, and national action is needed to improve compliance with the National Construction Code and toughen up penalties.
A Shorten Labor Government will work with state and territory governments to design a national licencing scheme for building practitioners. This would include installers, fire protection practitioners, certifiers and surveyors – many of whom are not currently subject to formal licencing or inspection.
By establishing a national licencing regime, separate to the Federal Safety Commissioner’s existing role, we will restore the integrity to a system that has been fractured and spread over a mishmash of eight jurisdictions and 19 regulators, all of which have different requirements and standards for building practitioners.
As part of the national licencing scheme negotiations, Labor will also develop and implement a more efficient and consistent penalties process, with stronger sanctions for breaches of the National Construction Code. Compliance with building regulations must be enforced in order to restore integrity and accountability to the industry.
A Shorten Labor Government will also restore responsibility for chairing the Building Ministers’ Forum to the Minister for Industry to ensure that public safety is taken seriously at the Cabinet table.
Each day the Turnbull 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.
More information on Labor’s policy is available here.