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Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Page: 13886


Mr BANDT (Melbourne) (13:39): There are hundreds of buildings around Melbourne, with thousands of residents, built with the dangerous flammable cladding that led to the fire that killed 72 people in London's Grenfell Tower. This month cladding on the Neo200 building caught fire. Residents lost possessions and still can't go back to their homes, but, fortunately, nobody lost their life. It could easily have been so much worse.

This is the failure of deregulating everything and letting developers, who bankroll the big political parties with donations, call the shots. The big developers walk away with millions in profits and, when things go wrong because they cut corners, they get off scot-free. Instead, the Victorian government is saying to homeowners: 'You fix it.' It has been 20 months since I first raised this with the Victorian government, yet the dangerous cladding remains. Not a single one of the government's loans have been taken out to remove cladding, and even it admits it will take at least two more years to fix. The federal government has sat on its hands and has even refused the recommendation of a Senate inquiry to ban the import of dangerous flammable cladding.

This is not good enough. Leaving it to the private market doesn't work. It could kill people. I am furious that people in Melbourne are in danger because governments are failing to take direct action to remove the cladding. This is an emergency. Governments must act, and act now. Governments themselves must remove, or pay to remove, the cladding now and recoup the costs from those responsible later or they will share responsibility for any disasters that happen.