The cost of removing potentially flammable cladding from Victorian buildings is set to come down as part of new laws announced by the state government.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne says ‘cladding rectification agreements’ between owners or owners corporations, lenders and councils will allow for long-term and low-interest loans.
‘As well as making properties safe and compliant with building laws, these financing agreements allow cladding to be removed quickly, without affecting property prices,’ Mr Wynne said in announcing the changes to the Local Government Act on Thursday.
He added the scheme would be the first of its kind in the world, allowing for the cheapest and most efficient way to remove dangerous cladding.
It comes after a cladding task force last year identified 1396 buildings likely to have aluminium composite panels with a polyethylene core or expanded polystyrene panels.
The government in March said that figure was much lower as construction hadn’t started on 609 of the buildings identified, and another 188 were half-built.
On Thursday Mr Wynne said the Victorian Building Authority had issued more than 100 building orders to residents.
The cladding task force began in July 2017 after London’s Grenfell Tower fire which killed 71 people.
In 2014, aluminium cladding on the Lacrosse building in Melbourne’s Docklands meant a fire started by a discarded cigarette climbed rapidly up the building.
Aluminium cladding panels with a polyethylene core of more than 30 per cent and expanded polystyrene panels are banned from use in buildings of more than three stories, but this had been difficult to enforce, the government said earlier this year.
Mr Wynne on Thursday also unveiled proposed laws to introduce a register of pools and spas, to be run by councils, as well as mandatory inspections to help prevent child drownings.