An Adelaide business owner says residents are being “kept in the dark” about whether flammable cladding means the apartment building that his business operates from is a fire risk.
- An audit revealed 30 SA buildings require urgent remedial work
- A resident says he has heard nothing from his landlord about his building
- The Adelaide City Council is also staying quiet about the risk profile of buildings in the CBD
Quang Nguyen jointly owns a dessert cafe at the bottom of a large residential apartment block in Adelaide’s CBD, and said he had heard nothing from his landlord about the status of the building.
“I think we should know or we should be made aware that there are issues, it’s not one of those things that we want to be kept in the dark about until it’s too late,” Mr Nguyen said.
“There’s about 450 apartments here, that’s quite a lot of people.
“We haven’t heard anything about it, we know a lot of the residents here — no-one knows anything about it.”
A State Government audit yesterday revealed dozens of privately-owned South Australian buildings require urgent remedial work to deal with potentially flammable aluminium cladding.
But Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll has left it up to landlords to inform tenants in the first instance, and refused to consider stumping up government money to rectify the situation.
He said it was up to South Australian councils to ensure the owners of private buildings took necessary steps to reduce the risk.
“None of these buildings has been assessed as needing to have the occupants evacuated,” he said.
“All of these buildings are buildings in the short-term that are able to be occupied.”
Council not disclosing fire risk
The Adelaide City Council will not disclose the risk profile of nearly 70 buildings in the CBD and North Adelaide, confirming only that no buildings were rated at as “extreme” risk or worse.
However, multiple other South Australian councils have said they have already removed from six buildings flammable cladding which required immediate action to make them safe.
The Salisbury Council investigated over 80 buildings, replacing cladding on three, while the Playford Council identified one building requiring immediate action.
The Mount Barker Medical Centre was also identified as being at moderate risk.
State Opposition Leader Tom Koutsantonis said it was the Minister’s responsibility to intervene.
“Perhaps the Minister should talk about closing those buildings or making sure that they’re made safe immediately,” he said.
‘Hiding information doesn’t build public confidence’
Adelaide councillor Phil Martin said he wanted the council to release the information it has.
“In these circumstances, governments hiding information doesn’t build public confidence, it actually destroys it,” he said.
“When you’re open, people can see what’s happening. Transparency is the key.”
He said even when properties were privately owned, they were a public safety risk, particularly in the city.
“The problem with flammable cladding is that once it’s on fire, it just collapses and falls off buildings in molten chunks,” he said.
“Anyone who’s in the vicinity of a building that has a cladding fire is in great danger.”