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Cladding issues a 'state responsibility'

Dominica Sanda
NSW needs $1 billion to remedy potential cladding problems across the state, industry groups say

Prime Minister Scott Morrison won't let state's pass the buck when it comes to the issue of flammable cladding, insisting it's a state government responsibility.

More than 600 buildings in NSW have been identified as being at risk due to flammable cladding, ranging from Star Casino and the Macquarie Bank building in Sydney to suburban blocks of flats.

Mr Morrison said dealing with the risk of flammable cladding in buildings is a state responsibility and "passing the buck" to the Commonwealth won't solve the issue.

"It's their responsibility, they need to deal with it," he said on 2GB radio on Friday.

"We cant just give state governments free passes on things."

Mr Morrison said he met with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian earlier this week and she advised her government would deal with the issue.

As of July this year, 629 buildings were identified in NSW that could have cladding that poses a risk.

According to documents accessed by Greens MP David Shoebridge under Freedom of Information laws, a number of prominent buildings in the Sydney CBD have been identified as needing to have their cladding partially removed.

The buildings include the Mantra Hotel on Kent Street, The Pullman Sydney Hyde Park Hotel and The Star casino.

Meanwhile, a fourth Sydney apartment block has been unoccupied since its completion in April 2018, with the City of Sydney refusing to allow residents to move in.

The council says the developer has failed to undertake remediation of the site.

It's believed there are no known cladding defects in the Erskineville complex, but the owners of 109 apartments and 18 terraces have been left in limbo, The Sydney Morning Herald reports on Friday.

Multiple toxic substances reportedly need to be removed from the site, including heavy metals, hydrocarbons, asbestos and contaminated groundwater.

The NSW government on Thursday put the handbrakes on calls for a $1 billion funding package to help owners replace flammable cladding on properties across the state.

Victoria has already announced a $600 million fund to remove the dangerous material from homes and called on the Commonwealth to split the cost, but this request was refused.