Property owners in New South Wales could soon be forced to immediately remove flammable cladding from high-rise buildings as part of a crackdown prompted by the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in London.
Following reports that thousands of Australian buildings are clad in material like that used on the 120-apartment block in west London, the State Government is introducing new fire-proof building measures.
The government is expected to discuss the establishment of a strikeforce to urgently identify fire-prone buildings at a meeting on Monday, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Building owners would then be given 30 days to carry out a fire safety inspection and could also be told to remove and replace the cladding.
NSW Fair Trading Minister Matt Kean has vowed to do whatever it takes to protect residents.
Other measures being floated by the government include lobbying its federal counterpart to put an import ban on the kind of cladding used on the Grenfell Tower and ensuring annual fire statements mention a building’s cladding.
Local councils will also be asked to detail the work they have carried out following concerns raised in February 2016 about flammable cladding.
Almost 3000 buildings in Sydney reportedly have aluminium composite cladding and about half of Melbourne’s apartment blocks have the cladding.
Fifty-eight people are now dead, or missing presumed dead, following the Grenfell Tower blaze, which broke out in the early hours of June 14.
Fears emerged cladding used inside and outside the housing block was a major factor in it quickly becoming engulfed in flames.
Australia’s federal opposition leader, Bill Shorten, has called for an inquiry to investigate nonconforming building products and the national building code, The Courier-Mail reported.
‘This is a shocking tragedy. I don’t want to see a similar tragedy occur here,’ he said.