We Need a Clear Cladding Policy – Now!

We are still waiting for a coherent government policy on combustible cladding that can provide clarity for owners’ corporations (OCs) facing massive bills for rectification.

More and more buildings are getting caught up in the nightmare, receiving building orders with no appropriate follow-up, and no end in sight.

In 2018, the government’s ill-fated attempt to introduce a loan scheme ended barely 12 months later. The government itself deemed the scheme unworkable, something which We Live Here had pointed out to them, long before the scheme was introduced into Parliament.

In July 2019, Cladding Safety Victoria (CSV) was established by the Premier of Victoria and the Minister for Planning. CSV was tasked with the responsibility for rectifying higher risk buildings identified by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) through a state-wide cladding audit.

Audits? Nothing to see here, move along

Would you like to know the outcome of the audits? Sorry, it seems we residents do not have that privilege. Nowhere can we find any information on the outcome of the audits.

A map on the VBA website shows the number of audits carried out within each municipality and we can see that more than 2200 audits have been conducted in Melbourne.

And that’s about all you can glean from the VBA cladding webpage.

The government needs to communicate much better than this.

For a start we want the Premier and the Minister for Planning to answer these questions:

  • What criteria are used to deem a building to be high, moderate or low risk?
  • What was the determining factor for the 15 buildings selected for government funding?
  • What happens to the owners in the other 1054 cladding-affected buildings identified by the VBA as being a danger to life? Are these buildings suddenly no longer a danger to life?
  • Why the secrecy – can we please have some honesty?
  • We apartment owners inherited the problem created by dodgy construction and reckless government oversight.


The cladding lottery – 15 lucky winners!

Congratulations! Of the 1069 buildings in Victoria identified with cladding that is a “danger to life” – 15 will benefit from the government’s meagre munificence.

To the other 1054 buildings who played the game, thanks for investing your life savings in your residence – and good luck with that!

This outcome proves what we have been saying for many months – the state government has not been able to raise enough money to make any meaningful impact on the massive extent of the cladding scandal.

And it proves our oft-repeated allegations that the real budget figure has always been: $150 million – not the risible $600 million figure that made a really great sound bite, swallowed whole by the mainstream media last year.

You can find evidence of the government’s figure of $150 million in the State’s Treasury papers and the same figure is confirmed by the Baillieu-Thwaites report – albeit in small print. The figure of $600 million is as fake and as meaningless as the 1069 certificates of occupancy that the government authorised for buildings with flammable cladding.

$400,000 fines for Building Orders?

Failure to comply with a Building Order to undertake rectification works, is an offence pursuant to section 118(1) of the Building Act (1993). For a body corporate, the maximum penalty is just over $400,000. If your OC is charged with an offence under the Act, the matter would be heard in the Magistrates Court.

It is a no-win situation and frankly a disgrace that the government should yet again ignore the thousands of owner-occupiers who live in high-rise strata communities.

This is a scandal of monumental proportions. And the culpable parties – the government and the building industry – are trying to get away with it.


If you would like further advice on owners corporation management matters, We Live Here can be contacted by email at campaign@welivehere.net.

The contents of this article or website are only intended to provide a general overview of the topics discussed. The author of this article makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information and the information is not intended to constitute investment, legal or professional advice. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content. This article does not contain references to any specific company, organisation or individual, unless expressly specified.
March 31, 2020
Contributed by
We Live Here
Is your Committee tired of no replies and poor service?

Speak to us about making a change!

    Download Our How to Change OC Management Companies Booklet
    How to change strata management companies in victoria

      Committee Members: everything you need to know about being on the Committee at your fingertips!

        <strong>Committee Members: </strong> everything you need to know about being on the Committee at your fingertips!
        Most Read Strata Articles
        Looking for a career in OC industry?
        Our partner companies are always looking for good people. Email careers@strataconsultants.com.au
        Google Logo
        Google Rating