The Federal Government’s refusal to support a ban on the importation of the cladding material responsible for the deadly Grenfell Tower disaster is putting the lives of construction workers and residents in high rise units at risk, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union has warned.
The union welcomed the Opposition's commitment to ban the use of highly flammable polyethylene (PE) cladding products as a matter of urgency.
The CFMEU said the deadly product continues to find its way onto Australian construction sites.
CFMEU Construction national secretary Dave Noonan said the CFMEU has been demanding action from State and Federal Governments for more than two years.
In the wake of the Grenfell fire, the union has advised members to refuse to install the cladding on commercial building sites.
“Fire authorities, unions, and even property developers support a ban on these combustible cladding products entering Australian ports, which is the most effective way of ensuring they don’t end up in Australian homes and workplaces,” he said.
But Assistant Industry Minister, Craig Laundy, said it is already illegal to use the cladding on high-rise buildings and this law needs to be enforced.
"This product is actually also made by companies in Australia so a ban at the border would do nothing about those companies," he said.
"Also the cladding can be used legally in shop fronts and outdoor signage. There is no need to have an across the board ban for something that can be used legally in certain environments."