'It strikes at your soul': building ministers agree to flammable cladding ban
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'It strikes at your soul': building ministers agree to flammable cladding ban

Stranded residents outside the Neo200 building.

Stranded residents outside the Neo200 building.Credit:Jason South

Australia’s building ministers have agreed in principle to ban dangerous flammable cladding after a fire tore through a residential apartment building in Melbourne this week.

At a meeting in Hobart the ministers agreed to the national ban on the “unsafe use of combustible aluminium composite panel cladding” in new constructions.

However, the proposal will now be subject a cost-benefit analysis to ensure it does not present any unintended consequences.

The analysis will assess the proposed ban’s impact on the supply chain and building industry as well as a timeline to implement it.

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Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne said it was important to reach a nationally consistent regime for dealing with dangerous cladding.

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“When you get a call at 5.30 in the morning to say there’s a residential building on fire it strikes at your soul,” he said.

A report is expected to be prepared in time for the next building ministers’ forum in July.

This week about 200 residents were evacuated from the 41 storey Neo200 apartment building on Spencer Street after the cladding caught fire.

The building used the same material as the Grenfell Tower in London, which caught fire killing 72 people in 2017.

Earlier this week Mr Wynne said he would push for a national ban on the composite cladding at the building ministers’ meeting.

Opposition planning spokesman Tim Smith said the government’s focus must be the “urgent removal” of cladding from existing properties around Victoria.

Benjamin is a state political reporter

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