The Morrison government has rejected Victoria’s plea to cover half of the $600 million cost of its plan to fix the state’s combustible cladding crisis, meaning the Andrews government will jack up building costs to fund the work.
The Andrews government announced on Tuesday that it had committed $600 million to rectify dangerous cladding on hundreds of high-risk buildings, using $300 million from state revenue and also appealing to the Commonwealth for $300 million.
It said it would increase building permit levies for some apartment buildings to raise $300 million over five years should the Morrison government say no, but hoped the Commonwealth would contribute. "There needs to be a true national partnership to put community safety first, to rectify these most dangerous buildings," Premier Daniel Andrews said.
The federal Coalition promptly rejected the request.
Victoria's decision to pay a large part of the repair bill for private apartments makes it the first Australian state to invest taxpayer dollars to help solve the cladding crisis. It follows a similar move by the British government in May.
But taskforce co-chair John Thwaites said "wrongdoers" in the building industry should still be pursued for costs of rectifications.
"We’ve been very concerned about the culture in the industry where safety has come second to cutting costs," Mr Thwaites said.