The Victorian State Government is introducing new reforms to reduce the cost of removing dangerous combustible cladding and boost pool safety.
Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, announced changes to the Local Government Act late last month that will create Cladding Rectification Agreements (CRA).
“This scheme is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and offers owners the cheapest and most efficient way of removing dangerous cladding from their buildings,” said Minister Wynne.
CRAs will be similar to existing Environmental Upgrade Agreements, which enable owners to upgrade their homes to make them more environmentally friendly and pay it off via their council rates.
The arrangement will be between owners (or owners corporations), lenders and local councils – providing long-term, low-interest loans to pay for building work to rectify cladding.
Owners would be charged via their rates over a minimum period of ten years, with costs transferred with the property if sold.
Such an arrangement was a key recommendation of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce established last year and chaired by former Premier Ted Baillieu and former Deputy Premier John Thwaites.
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has almost completed its audit of 1,369 planning and building permits, and has issued more than 100 building orders to residents.
The State Government will also introduce legislation to establish a register of swimming pools with new mandatory inspections to keep Victorians safe.
Minister Wynne also introduced the Building Amendment (Registration of Trades and other matters) Bill 2018 – the next step in better protecting children from the dangers of unprotected pools and spas.
In a Victorian first, the reforms include a mandatory pool and spa register, administered by councils, to improve information about the location and safety standards of pools.
Preparations are already underway within the Victorian Building Authority to create a voluntary swimming pool register and online pool barrier compliance self-assessment tool in time for the 2018-19 summer period.
“We’re doing more to protect children and families from the tragedy of backyard drownings,” said the Minister.