The ACT government will offer concessional loans to apartment building owners whose properties need potentially deadly combustible cladding removed.
The first phase of the scheme, which will open on Wednesday, will offer rebates of half the cost of testing, up to $20,000, so building owners can determine whether their property is clad with flammable material.
The owners of buildings found to need cladding remediation work will be offered concessional loans, with details expected to be released once buildings have been tested.
Sustainable Building and Construction Minister Rebecca Vassarotti said she recognised the challenge for apartment building owners to fix combustible cladding issues.
"The ACT government takes the safety of Canberra residents seriously and we are committed to reducing the risk of potentially combustible cladding on residential apartment buildings in the ACT," Ms Vassarotti said.
Buildings eligible under the scheme are apartment buildings taller than three storeys, or in clusters that present a high fire risk, and mixed-use buildings with residential and commercial tenancies.
Ms Vassarotti said the ACT had been able to design a fit-for-purpose scheme after watching the responses of other states and territories.
"We are committed to ensuring that the testing and assessment of cladding is done professionally and that owners get as much assistance as they need to guide them through that process," she said.
Fire can spread quickly up a building if inappropriate aluminium composite cladding panels, which can have highly combustible cores, are used.
The ACT government in August 2020 had committed to a taxpayer-funded loan scheme to help apartment owners determine whether their buildings used flammable cladding.
The Barr government's economic recovery package allocated $21.4 million to two cladding rectification schemes over three financial years.
There are 23 public buildings in the ACT which would need to have the potentially dangerous cladding removed, it was revealed in February.
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Major Projects Canberra chief projects officer Duncan Edghill told an ACT estimates work would begin to remove the cladding soon.
The government committed to inspecting territory owned buildings in the wake of London's deadly Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, in which 72 people died.
The audit quickly identified potentially dangerous cladding panels at Centenary Hospital and five other ACT health buildings.
A total of $19 million has been set aside to remediate the government buildings identified during the audit.
The Greens in 2019 called on the ACT government to expand the audit to cover privately owned buildings.
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