The Insurance Council of Australia and four other organisations representing the building, property, and construction industries are urging the federal government to take the leadership role in bringing together all state and territory governments to resolve the building and construction sector crisis.
The organisations, which also include the Property Council of Australia, Ai Group, and Australian Construction Industry Forum, and Master Builders Australia, called for national action to:
develop and implement a consistent and best-practice Australia-wide response for risk assessment and a rectification strategy for existing buildings with combustible cladding with an agreed timetable that reflects the urgency of the issue; and
establish a joint government-industry taskforce to oversee urgent and consistent implementation of all Shergold-Weir report recommendations across all jurisdictions.
The call for Australia-wide action was to address the strict cladding-related exclusions introduced in mandatory professional indemnity insurance products for building practitioners, as well as the withdrawal of insurers from the market.
“Positive action has been taken in some jurisdictions, however other states are lagging and the continued inconsistency in the approach across governments is manifesting in the crisis confronting building practitioners in the building supply chain,” the industry groups said. “This has led to significant increases in professional indemnity premiums and a reduction in cover via exclusions on combustible cladding and non-conforming building products. Building surveyors, engineers, and architects are now struggling to obtain the insurance they need to do their job, which in turn could seriously affect future building or construction activity.”