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Government rejects call to ban PE cladding import & use

Posted on : Friday, 2 March 2018

The Australian Government has rejected a recommendation to ban the importation, sale and use of combustible cladding made by the Senate inquiry into non-conforming building products, determining such a ban would be neither effective nor practical.


The recommendation was one of eight made by an interim report on aluminium composite cladding released in September 2017 by the Senate Economics References Committee's inquiry. The report's recommendations aimed to address the fire risk posed by the non-compliant use of polyethylene core aluminium composite panels (PE-ACPs).


Difficulty in identification of PE-ACPs, legitimate uses of the material, domestic manufacturing, international trade obligations and costs to industry would make a total ban on PE-ACPs ineffective and impractical, the Government response determined.


"The Australian Government is of the view that the national measures currently being pursued by the Building Ministers' Forum, through the work of the Senior Officers' Group, will effectively increase accountability of all participants across the building supply chain, and improve building product conformity and compliance with the National Construction Code (NCC)," the Government response stated.


Fire Protection Association Australia CEO Scott Williams agrees that greater enforcement of existing legislation is the most effective way to reduce the fire risk posed by combustible cladding.


"The use of combustible cladding on high-rise buildings is in the majority of cases already prohibited by the NCC," he said. "It's not necessary to ban it twice; what is required is greater enforcement of the legislation we already have that requires a high level of fire safety in Australian buildings."


"As the Government response highlights, several important reforms have been introduced in Queensland and New South Wales since the Senate inquiry made its recommendations, some of which are addressed by the new legislation."


"Refinements are also underway in NCC 2016 Amendment One, which introduces further clarification and guidance on the use of combustible cladding on buildings."


Of the other seven recommendations made by the Senate inquiry, the Government supported three and noted four, highlighting that the constitutional authority for most of the recommendations lay with the states and territories.


Not supported

  • The Australian government implement a total ban on the importation, sale and use of Polyethylene core aluminium composite panels as a matter of urgency.


Supported/supported in principle

  • The Building Ministers' Forum give further consideration to introducing nationally consistent measures to increase accountability for participants across the supply chain.
  • That the Commonwealth government consider making all Australian Standards and codes freely available.
  • The Commonwealth government's decision to give further consideration to Director Identification Numbers and recommends that it expedites this process in order to prevent directors from engaging in illegal phoenix activity.



  • The Commonwealth government work with state and territory governments to establish a national licensing scheme, with requirements for continued professional development for all building practitioners.
  • The Commonwealth government consider imposing a penalties regime for non-compliance with the NCC such as revocation of accreditation or a ban from tendering for Commonwealth funded construction work and substantial financial penalties.
  • The Commonwealth government ensure the Federal Safety Commissioner is adequately resourced to ensure the office is able to carry out its duties in line with the new audit function and projected work flow.
  • That state and territory government's work together to develop a nationally consistent statutory duty of care protection for end users in the residential strata sector.


The full Government response is available here.