The delay in adopting a national approach to building industry reform, based on a report received more than a year ago, typifies official neglect of the impacts of uncertainty on the affected people.
The construction industry crisis didn't happen overnight. Authorities have been on notice for years to fix the problems that now have the industry itself calling for better regulation.
Regulations that are meant to protect residents from building failures and fires have been found wanting. All governments must take responsibility for fixing the defective regime they created.
Estimated costs for Victoria alone range from hundreds of millions to as much as $1.6 billion If work to rectify buildings fitted with combustible cladding isn't well handled.
Years of regulatory failure are having direct impacts on the hip pockets of the many Australians who bought defective houses or apartments. It's turning into a multibillion-dollar disaster.
Under the new code, buildings are hardly likely to differ measurably from their fault-ridden older siblings and can still fall short of a six-star rating. It's possible they may have no stars!
Architects, certifiers and engineers who work as consultants to builders are on notice about potential liability for the use of flammable cladding, but governments are also culpable for their actions.
The risks of combustible cladding on high-rise buildings have long been known. And audits have identified hundreds of Australian buildings with this cladding. Delay in replacing it is inexcusable.
As more and more Australians live and work in high-rise buildings, their responsibilities and roles in ensuring all occupants' safety must not be neglected.
Fortunately, no lives were lost in the latest cladding fire in Melbourne, but it's a stark reminder of the urgent need to track and verify that building materials comply with safety standards.