Victoria’s Planning Minister, Richard Wynne recently dropped a bombshell on thousands of apartment owners whose buildings are covered in flammable cladding.
New loan laws likely to be passed by Parliament have been billed as a kindly gesture to help owners of apartments covered in the flammable cladding to fund the rectification costs. This news might seem a worthy initiative, except that the most iniquitous elements in this scandalous swindle are unspecified.
Principally, Wynne’s decree provides that owners who bear no blame for this combustible catastrophe are to be burdened with a debt that could run into billions of dollars.
Why are building owners forced to foot the bill?
The answer to this question is very simple. In line with past policy, the government has decided to protect rogue builders and transfer responsibility to blameless owners.
As always, there has been superlative spin, secrecy and incredible storytelling. Unearthing the truth required a long, complicated and tortuous path to find what has been hidden – that consumers remain wholly unprotected.
The Burning Question
After years of dodging the question of who would be forced to pay to rectify the potentially lethal cladding bill, Wynne has waved through an answer of sorts, in the form of his new building amendment. But it is double-speak.
Wynne’s resolution does not include the full facts, nor the horrendous implications. In addition, this new legislation has been made more difficult to comprehend because of the missing link between this reform and his earlier consumer protection laws passed in 2016.
You need to look at what underpins it, and that can take many laborious hours. Only once you decode the cryptic core of the amalgam do you discover the deceitful laws that have been secretively enacted.
Fundamentally, the Andrews’ government has shifted legal liability from delinquent builders to owners. For Wynne’s winners an unsurprising get-out-of-gaol windfall. For owners, another titanic bombshell.