Ceiling collapses on floor where Malcolm Turnbull headed cabinet meeting

Part of the ceiling collapsed at Waterfront Place, on the floor where federal MPs were meeting on Tuesday. Photo: Robert Rough Emergency crews outside Waterfront Place after part of a ceiling collapsed on Tuesday. Photo: Amy Mitchell-Whittington
Nanjing Night Net

Emergency services are seen attending 1 Eagle Street after the ceiling collapse. Photo: Bradley Kanaris

The entry to the building, in which Commonweath offices are located, was being guarded after the collapse. Photo: Bradley Kanaris

Two parliamentarian staff were taken to hospital after ceiling panels collapsed on them inside Brisbane’s Commonwealth offices, where Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was holding a federal cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Emergency crews were called to Level 36 Waterfront Place at Eagle Street just before 11am to reports part of a ceiling had collapsed.

Three female staff members, one from Canberra and two from Brisbane, suffered cuts and abrasions when three ceiling tiles, estimated to be about a square metre in size, fell on them.

One of the women injured was treated for shock while another was treated for an ankle injury.

The Prime Minister was in an adjoining room at the time.

Police Inspector Daniel Bragg said when it was found there was a “commotion” on the floor where the Prime Minister was, “no chances were taken” and “all available personnel were sent to investigate”, he said.

“Investigations were conducted to see if there was anything beyond workmanship that needed attending to,” he said.

“The result of police investigations was that it was just a workplace accident that is being investigated by building management.

“I’m advised (Mr Turnbull) wasn’t alerted at the time. I don’t think there was any grave concern that it was something bigger, I think they realised at the time that even though there was a commotion, it was a structural matter, not a criminal matter.”

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services inspected the damage, but said there was no structural damage to the actual building.

Inspector Bragg said he had been given advice that the building managers were aware there was a problem.

“I am led to believe there have been some investigations into some damage earlier and they were aware that there were some minor defects and this is a consequence of that,” he said.

“I have been given advice that they were aware that there was a problem.”

A statement from DEXUS Property Group, which holds Waterfront Place in its portfolio, said it was an “isolated” incident and there was no risk to the rest of the building.

“The area is being stabilised to ensure it is safe,” the statement read.

The Commonwealth Parliament Offices, including Queensland senators’ offices, are on level 36.

Windows falling from the Eagle Street high-rise caused problems as recently as 2011.

Panes of glass fell in 2007, missing pedestrians and cars below, and more glass fell from the same building the following year. A canopy was built over Felix Street to protect pedestrians.

Previous media reports said the building managers had had to deal with hundreds of faulty windows since 1990.

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