Blame game over $3 million Mascot Towers crisis
A $3 million NSW Government rescue package for the evicted residents of the cracked Mascot Towers has left some owners wondering how they will repay the help.
Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson yesterday announced a $3 million one-off emergency loan that would allow residents to receive up to $400 a night to cover their housing expenses.
The rescue package has to be repaid through insurance or compensation payouts from whoever is found to be at fault.
But owner occupier Matthew Harris said: "I think it is looking extremely unlikely that anyone will ever be found accountable for what has happened.
"This may well be adding a $3 million debt to the owners' corporation which already has to find $5 or $6 million in repairs," he said.
Residents of the block's 132 units had to move out 10 days ago after giant cracks appeared in the 10-year old high rise.
It is the second high rise to be evacuated in Sydney in six months following the discovery of major faults in the Opal Tower building at Homebush on Christmas Eve.
"While residents wait for advice from specialist engineers on the root cause of the problem, we are taking decisive action to ensure all residents of the complex, both homeowners and tenants, are not left out in the cold," Mr Anderson said.
Bayside Council Mayor Bill Saravinovski said: "It's about time. It took the NSW Government a week to do something."
But he feared the tower was part of a much larger problem. "How many more towers are we going to find like this?
"The government has been pushing for fast, high density housing that is approved by private certifiers.
"We need to put approvals back in the hands of councils because our interest is purely to make sure buildings are completed properly," he said.
Labor regulation spokeswoman Yasmin Catley said: "Building safety and regulation is one of the most serious issues facing NSW residents.
"Government assistance is welcome and the parliament must get to work immediately to ensure another building in Sydney isn't evacuated for a third time in 12 months," she said.
And she called on the NSW Government to appoint the Building Commissioner it announced when the Opal Tower problems emerged.
David Bare, NSW executive director of the Housing Industry Association, welcomed the emergency loan to the residents of Mascot Towers. "It makes sense to provide them with some degree of relief," he said.
But Mr Bare said the NSW Government needs to "move on with implementing the recommendations of the Shergold Weir report" which looks to improve compliance in the building industry.