Can’t believe that tax-payers and small developers have ended up on the hook for this mess.
Well, that escalated quickly.
And this fiasco shows you everything wrong with democracy and crony-capitalism.
I’m talking about the Victorian government announcing that it has $600m to fix the cladding crisis. In case you don’t remember, a whole bunch of high-rise buildings in Melbourne have been clad in the same flammable stuff that caused the Grenfell Tower disaster in London, and they all need to be fixed.
“Victorian taxpayers will help fund major rectification works on buildings with dangerous combustible cladding, Premier Daniel Andrews says.
His Government has announced a $600 million package to fix hundreds of buildings with high-risk cladding.
Half will come straight from state coffers, and the other half will be raised over five years through changes to a building permit levy.
Mr Andrews announced the policy after receiving a report into the state of cladding in Victoria, which made 35 recommendations that his Labor Government is now considering.”
Here’s more via The AFR:
“A new body, Cladding Safety Victoria, will oversee the process, rather than the Victorian Building Authority building industry regulator…
Victoria has the largest number of known private buildings with them. Mr Wynne last month told a state parliamentary committee the number of affected buildings was more than 900…
Victoria’s move suggests other states will eventually follow in paying for rectification.”
At first, I’m like, why am I, as a tax-payer, paying for this mess. This is not my problem. I didn’t build these apartments and I didn’t buy one. Why are tax-payers now on the hook for $300m?
I mean, sure, it was a failure of compliance and the laws themselves, then sure. But it’s not clear that it is (and the government certainly isn’t admitting fault).
What’s worse, even this much might not be anywhere near enough…
Consumer advocate Anne Paten, from the Victorian Building Action Group, said the $600 million funding package would not come close to fixing the state’s cladding issues.
She told ABC Radio Melbourne the real cost was “many, many billions of dollars”.
“The people who have already been damaged and the taxpayers who’ve had nothing to do with this are going to give this token amount,” she said.
“And on the other hand, the people who caused it and should have to give and live up to the warranty that comes with the building once again walk away scot-free.”
So what happens when the money runs out and we’re only a small way into the job? Is the government really just going to walk away at that point. Say, “Nup. Sorry. There’s no more money.”
I can’t see that happening. And so I feel like tax-payers are potentially handing over a blank cheque here.
I’m not all that happy about that.
But then it gets worse.
Because it turns out that the government’s plan to raise half the money from a levy on the construction industry, isn’t a fee on the people who built and made money on these things. It’s a fee on every developer.
As The Property Council has highlighted, even small developers are on the hook.
The Property Council has welcomed the Victorian Government’s plan for the rectification of cladding affected buildings but has warned that a 700 per cent increase in building levies would add untenable costs to new construction projects in that state.
“We welcome the Government’s commitment to take action on cladding rectification and its commitment of $300 million for the task, but we are deeply concerned about the impact of the proposed huge increase in the Building Permit Levy to help fund the plan,” said Matthew Kandelaars, Victorian Deputy Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia.
“The Government is proposing a 700 per cent increase in the levy for new buildings valued at more than $1.5 million.
“For works as low as $800,000, it is proposed the levy rate will double. These are not big building projects by any stretch.”
No kidding they’re not! What can you build in Melbourne for $800K these days? Coupla granny flats?
So now every developer, even every one who followed the letter of the law and did everything right, they’re on the hook for this mess.
I’m on the hook for this mess.
And I’m not happy about that.
How about we hunt down whoever made off with the money and made them pay for it, hey?
Why are you coming after us?