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‘We need an enquiry’: Building authority admits to failures

The head of the Victorian Statewide Cladding Audit believes builders knowingly used illegal cladding in several cases.

And the state’s cladding crisis has prompted the state opposition to call for an enquiry into the building regulator.

Matt Vincent, of the Victorian Building Authority, says private building surveyors would have signed occupancy permits for buildings that were subsequently deemed dangerous.

The comments follow confirmation that taxpayers will pay a $600 million dollar bill to make buildings safe.

“The Andrews government has done the right thing … but the more I looked at it the more questions came up.”
– Neil Mitchell

Mr Vincent told Neil Mitchell there have been regulatory system failures.

“We don’t shirk that responsibility and the past,” he said.

“But right now we’ve been tasked with finding these buildings, classifying them and now Cladding Safety Victoria will get to support that rectification that process.”

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Shadow Planning Minister Tim Smith said the VBA’s failure needs to be investigated.

“This is a failure of the regulator over the past two decades,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“We need an enquiry into the VBA.

“This is basically another asbestos-type issue … I think it’s that serious.

“I think this is the tip of the iceberg.”

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Neil Mitchell applauded the Andrews government for acting, but also fears the ramifications will last years.

“I think the Andrews government has done the right thing reacting here, because it is urgent,” he said.

“But the more I looked at it the more questions came up.

“If you have already fixed the cladding on your building, are you entitled to compensation?

“If you sold your property for a reduced rate because of cladding, are you entitled for compensation?

“Is there any chance of a class action?”