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Strict fire safety requirements protect the Australian community

19 July 2017

Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Craig Laundy has dismissed claims by the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten that fire protection regulations in the National Construction Code are not of a high standard.

He said the National Construction Code (NCC) was clear about the standards that must be followed for installing sprinklers and the use of cladding on high rise buildings.

“The NCC contains fire safety requirements for high rise apartment buildings that limit fire spread, alert occupants to the detection of smoke, facilitate evacuation and enable fire brigade operations,” Mr Laundy said.

Mr Laundy, who chairs the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) which comprises Commonwealth, state and territory ministers responsible for building and plumbing regulation said all governments place the utmost importance on fire safety and safe building construction.

“The Prime Minister has written to Premiers and Chief Ministers asking them to conduct an audit on the non-compliant use of cladding on high rise buildings and all jurisdictions have responded.

“Since the 2014 Lacrosse Apartment fire in Melbourne, the BMF has focused on proactive and appropriate responses to ensure buildings, particularly high rise buildings, are safe and that compliance and enforcement systems are robust.”

Mr Laundy said the BMF directed the Australian Building Codes Board to hasten implementing a comprehensive package of measures through the NCC to prevent non-compliant use of wall cladding on high rise buildings.

Further, in June 2017 the BMF agreed to commission an expert to examine broader compliance and enforcement issues with the building and construction systems that might affect the implementation of the NCC.

“I want to assure the public that the Australian Government will continue to work with all state and territory governments to stamp out non-compliance with our Code, so the public can continue to be confident in our world class built environment,” Mr Laundy said

“The Australian Government strongly supports state and territory governments undertaking investigations into the conduct of builders and building certifiers on an on-going basis and the use of appropriate disciplinary action when necessary.”

Media contact: Mr Laundy's office 02 6277 4345