Government exempts TIO Stadium from building certification laws amid unresolved safety issues

by | Mar 9, 2022 | News | 0 comments

Infrastructure Minister Eva Lawler has issued an extraordinary government order that will allow people to attend events at TIO Stadium despite the building not having an occupancy permit and with outstanding public safety issues still not addressed.

Ms Lawler quietly issued a notice in government gazette on Tuesday that declared TIO Stadium is not required to have an occupancy permit, which is understood to relate to unresolved safety issues at the popular stadium not being corrected by the department for years, as first reported in the NT Independent last year.

It remains unclear when the government intends to rectify the outstanding issues, including insufficient fire hydrant pressure that could put people’s lives at risk in the event of a fire, after pledging to fix the flaws in 2020.

The new ministerial order will permit the upcoming NTFL Finals and the NRL match to proceed at the stadium and will only stay in effect until June 30. It is unclear what the government intends to do after June 30.

Ms Lawler issued a release about eradicating weeds this afternoon but made no mention of why she felt it necessary to issue the extraordinary order to exempt TIO Stadium from the necessary building permits.

Her office refused to answer questions about the stadium’s non-compliance issues and why she felt the need to exempt it from Section 65 of the Building Act.

Following reports in the NT Independent in August 2020 about the lack of certification, the department issued a media statement stating that the building was “safe”, but did not explain how that was determined.

The statement was somehow used to permit tens of thousands of footy fans into the stadium for two AFL games in 2020.

The department said at the time it was “working with building certifiers to finalise the certification” for the grandstand building.

Today’s declaration means that the government has been unable to certify the building nearly two years after it said it would.

CLP spokeswoman for Sport Jo Hersey said the government needed to provide answers about what is going on with the stadium.

“Territorians love their sport and TIO Stadium is important community infrastructure,” she said.
“Minister Lawler needs to explain why she gave the exemption and what this means for the safety standard of the facility.”

Documents obtained by this publication under Freedom of Information laws last year showed the department had not fixed the safety issues and that an engineer’s report had determined the stadium had insufficient fire hydrant pressure that could put lives at risk.

The engineer’s report was heavily redacted with concerns around “base building elements”, including fire services and other mechanical and electrical issues, blacked-out, preventing the public from knowing what issues specifically were still not rectified.

Allowing people to enter an uncertified premise is against the law, but Ms Lawler’s ministerial order will exempt the stadium, which industry sources said was highly unusual.

 

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