The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has been calling for the removal of flammable cladding since the Grenfell Tower tragedy

A three-year NSW Government package to support the owners of at least 230 high-rise properties to rectify or replace high-risk combustible cladding has been announced. 

Project Remediate, detailed in the NSW Budget, will pay interest on loans by commercial lenders to building owners and owners corporations to fast-track the removal of unsafe cladding. At least 230 buildings have already identified as high risk by the NSW Cladding Taskforce.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said: “We’re not taking any chances when it comes to the safety of people living in buildings identified as being at high-risk from combustible cladding.”

“Our priority is removing unsafe cladding from buildings as soon as possible, which is why we have allocated up to $139m to co-ordinate the remediation process for affected buildings.”

ICA CEO Andrew Hall said the cost of removing or replacing cladding was often cited as a key barrier for strata owners and managers. Helping make finance more affordable would empower them to embark on urgent rectification programs.

“Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, the Insurance Council has been calling for urgent, nationally consistent action to identify and remove flammable cladding from high-rise buildings,” he said.

“Today’s announcement of a remediation program in NSW is a positive step towards resolving the use of flammable cladding and other non-conforming products on high-rise residential and commercial buildings.

“The goal of these works must be to save lives – to protect building inhabitants and the inhabitants of neighbouring structures. And insurers will play their part here. Where cladding rectification is completed to the appropriate standard, insurers will reassess premiums to consider the lower risk.”

Hall said Project Remediate, and reforms in place under Cladding Safe Victoria, were models other states could consider.