The federal industry minister has reminded the Victorian Labor government that the Commonwealth “is not an ATM for the states” after the Victorian premier requested $300m worth of assistance to fix the flammable cladding crisis in Victoria.
“No, this problem is of the states’ making and they need to step up and fix the problem and dig into their own pockets,” the minister said when asked about the possibility of co-funding.
The premier revealed a $600m package to finance the cladding rectifications, hoping that the Commonwealth would cover half of this amount. If the request is declined, it is planned that the extra costs will be funded by increasing the levy on building permits for high-rise developments worth more than $800,000.
The premier has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison explaining that the issue is above politics. “This isn’t about playing politics,” he said. “This is a genuine request."
More than 2200 buildings across the state have been inspected by Victoria’s cladding taskforce with 500 of them being identified as high risk and 72 as extreme risk. The 15 most dangerous sites, which the government has declined to make public in order to protect against potential arson threats, will have work started in the coming weeks.
Peter Khalil, the Federal Labor MP for Wills, has stated that he feels the Federal Government is being irresponsible by refusing to contribute financially. “If Victoria is asking for money, why wouldn’t New South Wales, the ACT, South Australia? It’s a national issue.”