Coroner launches investigation on Wall collape

The Victorian Coroner’s Court today launched its inquiry into the circumstances surround the March 28 Swantson Street Grocon Wall collapse.  Coroners’ Court Judge Ian Gray, assisted by the Victorian Police, acknowledged the public interests in the inquiry and warned of procedural delay arsing from the potential for persecutions that may arise from independent inquiries undertaken by WorkSafe and the Building Commission. 

It may take up to two years or more to be concluded depending on the extent of any prosecutions that may be launched.

The Victorian Police are in the process of preparing a report for the Coroner focusing on the history of the site, the design and construction of the collapsed wall and the hoarding that was attached to the wall.  The Police report will also cover the regulatory requirements governing the building site and will be supported by expert evidence.

In attendance were representatives of the Building Commission, WorkSafe, Grocon, the City of Melbourne and the families of the victims of the accident.  The CFMEU has also sought leave to be represented in the hearing as their members and staff were employed on the construction site and also in attendance immeadiatly after the wall collapase.

The French Embassy also sent an observer but they will have no formal standing in the proceedings

Judge Ian Gray reserved his decision, subject to the tabling of the report from Victoria Police, on whether or not the CFMEU will be granted leave to appear

No date was set for the tabling of the Police report but the court is expected to convene again one month following the Police evidential report copies of which will be provided to all parties.

Given the close  association between the developer GroCon and the various government authorities representation by the CFMEU would assist in maintaining public confidence in Coronal review which is independent from Government

Police investigating why wall debris was removed from collapse site

City of Melbourne denies any responsibility for permits to construct a hoarding

In a surprised turn around the City of Melbourne has come out and denied that it has any responsibility to issue permits for hoardings on private property.

Previously the City of Melbourne had stated:

We can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall.
 
There are four relevant legislative frameworks – Planning, Building, Occupational Health and Safety and Local Laws. There are intricacies in the way in which these interconnect and overlap.  These complexities are likely to be considered by the investigating authorities.

A CMP (Construction Management Plan) does not replace the need for Planning, Building or Local Laws approval for specific works. These must be sought separately.

Developers, builders and owners along with lawyers will have a field day with this one. Anarchy reigns in Melbourne’s Streets  I wonder what the Coroner and the Work Safety inquiries will make of this one.  

 The City of Melbourne has a permit application for hoardings which comes with a fee for service. They have published a full list of permits required and a hoarding, fence and advertising sign is on the list which is also included in the

City of Melbourne Local Law 2009.

Part 7 BUILDING STANDARDS Compliance with Code
Part 13 PERMITS When is a permit required under this Local Law?

What the response from the City of Melbourne (published below) failed to mention or make clear was that under the local law a hoarding (Both on public land and on private land) must comply with the City of Melbourne Construction Management Plan and the relevant design standards related to height and wind loading  The code of practice, (1.4) which is referenced in the City of Melbourne Local Law, stipulates a maximum height of 2.4m and ability to withstand wind loads to AS1170.2 standards

Under the the Code of Practice

Item 2. Definitions“Hoarding” means “a high temporary fence or structure enclosing a demolition site or a building site during building works, to restrict access and provide side protection to the public”
Item 4. Hoardings

4.1 … Hoarding screens must be constructed of closely boarded timber or plywood between 1.8m to 2.4m in height to secure a building site and form a barrier against noise, dust and debris.

… Hoardings are to be designed to withstand wind loads to AS 1170.2 with counterweights as necessary to prevent overturning. In addition hoardings adjoining excavations are to be designed to withstand a lateral line load of 0.75 kN/m applied at a height of 1 metre from the base and suitably guarded by barriers to prevent vehicular impact.

 
With all the word games and “intricate interconnect overlap and complexities” that surround this issue there is a clear need for the City of Melbourne to undertake an independent review of the legislative provisions governing public safety on building sites and the City Council.

This should be done as a matter of urgency and without delay or waiting pending the outcome of the Coroner’s report or other investigations that are currently underway in relation to the March 28 Swanston Street Wall Collapse. It will have to be done eventually,. The sooner they start the better

Council response dated: Tuesday, 7 May 2013 12:08 

I refer to the Future Melbourne Committee Meeting of 15 April 2013 – Question without Notice in relation to 555-591 Swanston Street and 2-76 Bouverie Street, Carlton and provide the following response.


Question:

“Did the City of Melbourne issue a permit for the construction of the new hoarding on the CUB Swanston Square project site?  The height being significantly taller than the 2.4m maximum permitted height pursuant to the City of Melbourne Construction Management Plan Guidelines.

Has the City of Melbourne inspected the site since the new hoarding was constructed?  If not, why not?”

Response:

No permit has been issued for the construction of a hoarding.
The temporary fence/hoarding is located on private property.  In this instance a permit is not required under the Activities Local Law 2009.

The structure is also exempt from a building permit under the Building Regulations 2006
(Sch. 8).

The structure satisfies Element 1, Item 1.5 of the City of Melbourne Construction Management Plan Guidelines as:
1.   
It is a solid barrier
2.   
The barrier prevents viewing; and
3.   
The barrier should restrict unauthorised entry


It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the structure is designed, installed and maintained in accordance with engineering principles and must satisfy any relevant standards.

City of Melbourne officers attended the site shortly after the barrier was erected.
Angela Meinke | Manager Planning and Building | City Planning and Infrastructure

City of Melbourne | Council House 2, 240 Little Collins Street Melbourne 3000 | GPO Box 1603 Melbourne 3001
T: 03 9658 8400 | M: 0429 502 043 | F: 03 9658 9891
|www.melbourne.vic.gov.au | |www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/whatson

ABC Error in Reporting on Council’s Press Release on Wall Collapse

The ABC, following a complaint in relation to an article on the Wall collapse in Swanston Street, reported that the City of Melbourne was not required to issue a permit for the hoarding.  The ABC reporter was wrong.

ABC’s response to the complaint

ABC News acknowledges the reporter misinterpreted the press release issued by the City of Melbourne and consequently inadvertently misrepresented the council’s position.

News advise that the release came after several days of phone calls by the reporter to the City of Melbourne asking about whether or not a council permit was required and, if so, whether one was issued. She was told by council officers that the situation regarding permits was confused as there were a number of different authorities involved. The confusion was compounded by the press release, which was not received until late in the day. On reading the release she came to the conclusion that it was indicating that the council did not need to issue a permit.

ABC News apologises for the error. The story has been corrected and an editor’s note attached.
The City of Melbourne Press release did not state that the Council “did not need to issue a permit” to the contrary it stated that 

We can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall.  

There are four relevant legislative frameworks – Planning, Building, Occupational Health and Safety and Local Laws. There are intricacies in the way in which these interconnect and overlap.  These complexities are likely to be considered by the investigating authorities.

A CMP (Construction Management Plan) does not replace the need for Planning, Building or Local Laws approval for specific works. These must be sought separately.

The City of Melbourne’s responsibility of the subject of a number of inquiries including the Coroner, Work Safety and the Building Commission.  The Council has refused to undertake an independent inquiry into its responsibility on the administration of public safety, it’s Local laws and liability

March for Public Safety: Melbourne Community in Solidarity with Workers

Some 8,000 to 10,000 Trade Unionists and members of the public marched in solidarity for public and workplace safety.

The Union rally follows on from four deaths associated with GroCon buildings sites in Melbourne. One Worker who fell from a construction site crane and three innocent pedestrians who were killed when a hoarding and brick wall collapsed on March 28.

Whilst the main focus was on GroCon and the State Government Work Safety questions are being asked as to the City of Melbourne’s responsibility and why it failed to issued a permit or inspect the Swanston Street building site?

The City of Melbourne needs to undertake an internal review of its role in the tragic events and its statutory obligations.

  • Is GroCon being given favourable consideration and are they exempt from local laws and prosecution?
  • Has the City of Melbourne been negligent or are they turning a blind eye in a gentleman’s agreement? 

The media are also asking questions but the Council has gone underground refusing to answer, hoping to weather the storm and escape attention from three government inquiries.  Worksafe, the Buildling Industry and  a Coronal inquiry.

There is a need for a fourth Statutory compliance and review which must look closely at the role of the City of Melbourne in overseeing Construction site public safety.

The City of Melbourne has a whole department of Engineers and exactly what do they do other then Engineer congestion, attend seminars and drink coffee? If they are not providing oversight, inspection and enforcing the rules why are they employed? Why are rate payers paying their wages?

The Union movement plans further rallies should the government inquires seek to scape goat or fail to hold to account those responsible.  This includes the City of Melbourne and the State Government

CFMEU: Tuesday March for Safety

The CFMEU (Construction Forestry Mining Employees Union) and Victoria’s Trade Unions will be marching next Tuesday April 30 in support of Safety on Melbourne’s Building sites.  The  march begins at Trades Hall in Victoria Street,  and will proceed to the Swanston Street site of last month’s tragedy for a minute’s silence as a sign of respect.outside the GroCon CUB building site on Swanston Street.

The City of Melbourne still has not provided information why it had not issued a permit or inspected  the building site hoarding which collapsed on March 28.killing three innocent pedestrians.

Councillor Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Governance portfolio, was unable to answer questions from the public last week if the City of Melbourne had issued a permit for the new hoarding or if it had inspected the site and if not why not?

The City of Melbourne continues to shift blame and avoid accountability for for its own failings. Public Safety is the prime directive and obligation of the City Council. Stephen Mayne describing public concerns about safety on the GroCon site as “Grandstanding”

CFMEU: Tuesday March for Safety

The CFMEU (Construction Forestry Mining Employees Union) and Victoria’s Trade Unions will be marching next Tuesday April 30 in support of Safety on Melbourne’s Building sites.  The march will start at 10AM outside the GroCon CUB building site on Swanston Street.

The City of Melbourne still has not provided information why it had not issued a permit or inspected  the building site hoarding which collapsed on March 28.killing three innocent pedestrians.

Councillor Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Governance portfolio, was unable to answer questions from the public last week if the City of Melbourne had issued a permit for the new hoarding or if it had inspected the site and if not why not?

The City of Melbourne continues to shift blame and avoid accountability for for its own failings. Public Safety is the prime directive and obligation of the City Council. Stephen Mayne describing public concerns about safety on the GroCon site as “Grandstanding”

Negligence or Corruption a question on Twitters mind

Questions remain unanswered following last months fatal wall collapse with the City of Melbourne ducking for cover and in lock down mode avoiding responsibility.

According to a City of Melbourne spokesperson a permit is required for the construction of a hoarding on a building site. The City of Melbourne in its statement published on April 9 stated that a permit was not issued for a hoarding on the GroCon Swanston Street building site that collapsed on March 28 killing three pedestrians.

When asked on April 16 if the Council had issued a permit for the NEW hoarding on thee GroCon Swanston Street site and if the Council Officers had inspected the site and if not why not? Councillor Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Governance portfolio was unable to answer and took the question on notice.

A week has passed and still the City of Melbourne has not been able to respond to this important and yet simple question.

Questions are being asked if the Council is guilty of contributory negligence for the death of three innocent people by failing to fulfill its statutory obligations and/or if Council staff had received inducements to turn a blind eye to the requirement to issue a permit for the construction of a hoarding?  Both the new and old hoardings were taller then the maximum height of 2.4m listed in the Council’s Construction Management Plan guidelines.

It is a simple question and deserves an answer. 

Council itself, and Councillor Mayne in particular, are now being compromised by the Council’s failing to reply.  Avoiding the question will not make it go away and only serves to undermine public confidence in the City Council’s Administration.

The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, may also be tainted by the Council’s lack of response with allegations being made that Councillor Doyle is actively seeking to block twitter discussion and review of his administration.

Negligence or Corruption a question on Twitters mind

Questions remain unanswered following last months fatal wall collapse with the City of Melbourne ducking for cover and in lock down mode avoiding responsibility.

According to a City of Melbourne spokesperson a permit is required for the construction of a hoarding on a building site. The City of Melbourne in its statement published on April 9 stated that a permit was not issued for a hoarding on the GroCon Swanston Street building site that collapsed on March 28 killing three pedestrians.

When asked on April 16 if the Council had issued a permit for the NEW hoarding on thee GroCon Swanston Street site and if the Council Officers had inspected the site and if not why not? Councillor Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Governance portfolio was unable to answer and took the question on notice.

A week has passed and still the City of Melbourne has not been able to respond to this important and yet simple question.

Questions are being asked if the Council is guilty of contributory negligence for the death of three innocent people by failing to fulfill its statutory obligations and/or if Council staff had received inducements to turn a blind eye to the requirement to issue a permit for the construction of a hoarding?  Both the new and old hoardings were taller then the maximum height of 2.4m listed in the Council’s Construction Management Plan guidelines.

It is a simple question and deserves an answer. 

Council itself, and Councillor Mayne in particular, are now being compromised by the Council’s failing to reply.  Avoiding the question will not make it go away and only serves to undermine public confidence in the City Council’s Administration.

The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, may also be tainted by the Council’s lack of response with allegations being made that Councillor Doyle is actively seeking to block twitter discussion and review of his administration.

Melbourne’s Death Wall Rebuilt Even Higher

Melbourne’s “Swanston Square” construction hoarding has been rebuilt on the site of the fatal wall collapse.  The new wall is over 3m tall, taller than the maximum height of 2.4m listed in the City of Melbourne Construction Management Guidelines.

It is unclear if developer GroCon has obtained a permit for the new construction as required under the City of Melbourne Local Laws or if Gorcon has special permission to bypass building controls within Melbourne or if the City of Melbourne has once again turned a blind eye to building site safety.

Yesterday, funerals were held for two of the victims of the March 28 Swanston Street wall collapse. The monument to those that died left standing,

The nearby pedestrian  sign, that is about to collapse in an unstable state left for over a week by the City of Melbourne. A reminder of the City’s “commitment” to pedestrian road safety


The Wall: ABC 7:30 report confirms what most of melbourne are asking

The ABC 7:30 report today highlights much of what we have been asking: Who is responsible for overseeing public safety in Melbourne building sites?

Three innocent victims walking down Melbourne’s  premier street were killed in an accident that should not have happened. A masonry wall and building site hoarding that had no permit or permission for its construction,  collapsed in a 76 to 105km/Hr gust of wind.

The new hoarding was erected just over 12 months ago.

The wall should have withstood the applied wind loading. Problem was it was attached to a plywood hoarding that was three metres high, 300 mm taller then the maximum height  permitted by the City of Melbourne guidelines and local laws allowed.   

The City Council ultimately is responsible for overseeing public safety and they failed in their duty of care and fulfillment of its statutory duty.

The City Council in a carefully crafted statement earlier this week stated that it did not issue a permit for the hoarding.  It also failed to inspect the site.  Had it done so three innocent people may be alive today.

The Melbourne City Council, with a department full of Engineers, turned a blind eye and failed to fulfill its statutory duty.

Confidence in the administration of the City Council is at an all time low.

Melbourne City Councilor, Steven Mayne, Chairman of the Council Governance portfolio dismissed community concerns about public safety and the need for an independent review of the City Council’s role and responsibility.

Cr Mayne claimed that  residents concerns were just grandstanding. 

ABC News makes claims not supported by CoM statement

ABC OnLine News service article titled:

Structure on collapsed wall did not have council permit

Is misleading. The article goes on and states:

The Melbourne City Council says a structure on a brick wall that collapsed in Carlton last month killing three people did not require council approval.

The statement published by the City of Melbourne does not claim or comment on the question if a permit or council approval was required.

The Council’s statement said:

We can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall.  

There are four relevant legislative frameworks – Planning, Building, Occupational Health and Safety and Local Laws. There are intricacies in the way in which these interconnect and overlap.  These complexities are likely to be considered by the investigating authorities.

A CMP (Construction Management Plan) does not replace the need for Planning, Building or Local Laws approval for specific works. These must be sought separately.

The City of Melbourne does not intend to make any further comment at this time.

Other media outlets did not repeat the unsupported ABC News claim.
The question if a permit for the construction of the hoarding attached to the wall that collapsed is still the subject of review and debate.  Council local laws and Construction site Management guidelines require a permit for the construction of hoardings.

Statement published by the City of Melbourne

Statement regarding Swanston Street development permits

 Tuesday, 9 April 2013 

The City of Melbourne continues to assist the Coroner, WorkSafe and the Building Commission as they investigate the Swanston Street wall collapse.

While assisting those inquiries remains our priority, we can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall.

There are four relevant legislative frameworks – Planning, Building, Occupational Health and Safety and Local Laws. There are intricacies in the way in which these interconnect and overlap.  These complexities are likely to be considered by the investigating authorities.

In general terms, the City of Melbourne oversees the interface between building sites and public space.

With regard to the wall collapse in Swanston Street, it should be noted that the wall was on private property.

The Swanston Street CUB site is a Comprehensive Development Zone. As a result of this designation, the Minister for Planning is the Responsible Authority for the issuing of planning permits relating to the site.

The Minister has issued a planning permit for the development of Swanston Square (building 5) and the Maltstore building. That permit required the developer to file a Construction Management Plan (CMP) with the Minister as the Responsible Authority. The Minister’s permit required that the CMP be prepared in accordance with the City of Melbourne’s CMP guidelines.

The purpose of the CMP is to set out how a site will be managed to minimise impact on the surrounding area. The CMP was reviewed by the City of Melbourne and was found to meet the requirements of the guidelines. The CMP covers Stage 1 of the development of the CUB site which is south of the area where the wall collapsed.

A CMP does not replace the need for Planning, Building or Local Laws approval for specific works. These must be sought separately.

The City of Melbourne does not intend to make any further comment at this time.

When is a hoarding not a hoarding

The Melbourne’s City Council’s denial and side shifting gets shiftier every day.

Not only did the City Council declare the minutes of its meetings to be a true and accurate record of its meeting, when they were not, the City Council today issued a statement that the “Structure” attached to the brick wall that collapsed killing three innocent victims  was neither an advertising sign or a hoarding and that no permit had been issued  for the structure attached to the collapsed wall or the site inspected.

Not only did the City Council fail to ensure that the required permits were issued and that the building and building works on on the site complied with the public safety standards, it also failed to inspect the site for compliance with Melbourne’s local laws.

The question must be asked was the Council negligent in fulling its statutory duty and prime responsibility to ensure and protect public safety?

The Council, as claimed in its statement, has tried to shift the blame and responsibility for the building site management off to the State Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, who issued a planning permit for the site and as such the City Council was not responsible for the construction site approvals. The planning permit is different to the building and construction permit.

“There are intricacies in the way in which these (laws) interconnect and overlap,” the council said in a statement on Tuesday.

The City Council still has a statutory obligation to ensure that building sites are constructed according to standards and that public safety is maintained. The responsibility for compliance and enforcement still remains with the City of Melbourne.

A team of engineers and inspectors and not one inspection had been made since the 3m high Grocon hoarding was constructed over a year ago.

Had the City Council inspected the site it could have identified the breaches in the building code and should have picked up the fact that the hoarding/fence/structure was taller than the permitted hoarding height of between 1.8 to 2.5 metres. Three innocent members of the public may still be alive today.

Of course anyone who dares question the Council’s involvement or responsibility for oversight of the building site, which is subject to investigation by the Coroner, Work Safe and the Building Commission, is grandstanding as claimed by Melbourne City Councillor, Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Governance portfolio and Deputy Chairman of Planning.

The City of Melbourne Local Laws state

PART 7 – BUILDING STANDARDS
Compliance with Code
7.1 A person must comply with any obligation imposed by the Code. Compliance with the Standards
7.2 A person to whom the Standards apply must comply with any obligation imposed by the Standards

Construction Management Plan guidelines

The City of Melbourne requires developers and builders to carefully manage excavation, demolition and building works within its municipal boundaries.
To achieve this, builders and developers are required to submit a construction management plan that takes into account all relevant aspects of demolition or building work.
The guidelines address a range of issues to be managed onsite, including:

All public domain protection permits such as hoardings, gantries, cranes, etc are issued by the City of Melbourne’s Construction Management Group (Site Services)
A permit is required to be issued prior to the construction of a hoarding or fence within the municipality under the Municipal Local Law.  A permit for a hoarding last for one year and is subject for inspection by the City Council.  

Types of construction permits

The City of Melbourne issues many different permits for building and construction activities including:
..

Permits for safety and amenity

 Hoarding screens must be constructed of closely boarded timber or plywood between 1.8m to 2.4m in height to secure a building site and form a barrier against noise, dust and debris. Chain wire and corrugated iron fences are considered unsuitable for this purpose.

 Hoardings are to be designed to withstand wind loads to AS 1170.2 with counterweights as necessary to prevent overturning. In addition hoardings adjoining excavations are to be designed to withstand a lateral line load of 0.75 kN/m applied at a height of 1 metre from the base and suitably guarded by barriers to prevent vehicular impact.
 Hoardings and barricades must be in good condition, free from graffiti and maintained to the satisfaction of the Council. They should be painted in a uniform colour preferably white

City of Melbourne admits it did not issue a permit for the CUB hoarding that collapsed killing three people

The Melbourne City Council today admitted that it did not issue a permit for the hoarding at the former CUB Swanston Square site that collapsed liking three people.

In  its carefully crafted public statement the City of Melbourne said  “we can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall” The Council deliberately going out of its way to avoid calling the “structure:” a hoarding. The reason is simple. If it is considered a hoarding then the council is responsible of overseeing its design and construction.

The plywood “structure” that collapsed and was attached to the masonry wall was most defiantly a hoarding and any attempt by the City Council to try and reclassify it will come unstuck.

There was a 22 meter section of 3m hoarding to the left of the collapsed wall that was a lightly supported structure designed to fence off the building site from Swanston Street.  This fence can not be seen as anything else but a hoarding and falls within the definition of a hoarding as outlined in the Council local laws and Construction Management guidelines.

The plywood hoarding was attached to the brick wall which collapsed when a gust of wind caused it to topple.  There is wide speculation that the hoarding contributed to the walls collapse

The City of Melbourne has a statutory duty and obligation to ensure that all  building sites, within the City of Melbourne, are inspected and do not pose a risk to public safety.

The accident which killed three innocent people on Thursday March 28 is currently the subject of an investigation by the  Coroner, WorkSafe and the Building Commission.

It is unclear if either investigation will examine the role and responsibility of the City of Melbourne.

The City Council today refused to consider a request for an investigation into the City Council’s role and obligation surrounding this accident.  Cr Steven Mayne in reply claimed that “calls for an investigation was just grandstanding

Engaging in pass the baton, failing to acknowledge responsibility or refusing to be held accountable does little to restore confidence in the Council’s administration.

Council under review for not fulfilling its statutory obligations

The City of Melbourne has come under review in a blame game between governments as the focus on the collapse of the Swanston Street brick wall, which killed three people, shifts from a period of mourning to seeking answers as to how this tragedy was allowed to happen.

The Australian Newspaper has began asking questions as to who is responsible for maintaining public safety on building sites?

Mathew Guy, State Minster for Planning, has correctly pointed the finger at the City of Melbourne as they are the authority that is responsible for site management and approval of construction of hoardings and advertising signs within the City

Mr Guy said the City Council was responsible for the approval of all advertising signs in Melbourne, not the government. He had approved a permit for the construction of Grocon’s “Portrait” apartment development on the site but not the hoarding.

Melbourne City Council has been unable to locate paperwork relating to any application.

Melbourne City Councillor and Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Governance and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Portfolio, Stephen Mayne, refused to answer questions as to if the City of Melbourne had issued a permit for the construction of the wooden hoarding fixed to the masonry wall that collapse a week ago today.

@melbcity comrade, I have no information and felt it would be insensitive to start making public/political statements after 3 tragic deaths.

— Stephen Mayne (@MayneReport) April 4, 2013

 Cr. Mayne also was unable to indicate if the Council had inspected the site in fulfillment of its statutory and fiduciary duty.  Public Safety is the prime directive for any government.

In an attempt to deflect cristicism Cr Mayne twitted in reply

@melbcity of course I’m asking questions internally. You seem to want PUBLIC grandstanding which would be insensitive after 3 tragic deaths.
— Stephen Mayne (@MayneReport) April 4, 2013

Whilst we share concern for the loss and tragic deaths of three innocent people this does not excuse or exempt the City of Melbourne from providing answers to questions that most Melbournes are asking.  “Who was responsible for this accident and what responsibility does the City of Melbourne have in overseeing public safety”? “Why did the Council not fulfill it’s statutory duty of care”?

What questions has Councillor Mayne been asking and what were the answers received in response?

If Councillor Mayne is sincere in his expression of grief then he would best serve those who lost their life in this tragic event by ensuring that all responsible, including the City of Melbourne, are held to account for their actions and failings.

The City of Melbourne must initiate a independent review of it’s own involvement, responsibilities and statutory obligations surrounding this tragedy. It must not seek to side step or pass the buck.  The public deserve and expect sincere open and transparent governance.

Herald-Sun

CFMEU State secretary John Setka is calling for an independent inquiry to give the public confidence in the findings. “We need an independent inquiry and we can see what they can come up with,” he said.

Under Melbourne City Council rules all hoardings need a permit and must be able to withstand high winds. But the council, WorkSafe and Grocon are refusing to say if the hoarding on the wall in question, which was put in place last year, was signed off as safe by an engineer.

Mr Setka said that he was stunned that no-one would clarify whether the hoarding had received a permit.“Three people are dead and people have a right to know why,” he said.

He said that people needed permits to put up a shed in their backyard, so the hoarding should have come under the same scrutiny. Mr Setka said there were concerns that the wooden hoarding may have compromised the integrity of the wall.

The Melbourne City Council said in a statement it was saddened by Thursday’s incident, but refused to release further details. “With investigations underway, it is important that all the information is gathered and carefully assessed,” the statement said.

“As a result, the City of Melbourne will be focusing its efforts on supporting those inquiries and is not in a position to comment further at this time.”