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Insurance blow for Sydney tower residents 'homeless' for at least a week

The NSW government "will hold everybody to account" once the root cause of ongoing and persistent cracking in a Sydney apartment complex is identified, Premier Gladys Berejiklian says.

Mascot Towers was evacuated on Friday night after engineers became increasingly concerned about cracks in the primary support structure and facade masonry of the decade-old building in the inner-south suburb Mascot.

Residents were told to be ready to leave at short notice and a temporary structural support was urgently installed on Thursday after building management noticed the cracks were widening.

Man carrying plastic bags as he evacuated the building.
Shop owners and residents in 122 units were told to evacuate with less than one hour notice. Source: AAP

All 122 units and all but two ground-level shops were empty on Saturday.

The premier on Sunday told reporters the government wants to "get to the root cause" and find out what has occurred.

"There was some speculation it could have been from things that happened in the near vicinity but we need to find out the cause before we know how to act," she said.

When asked if the NSW government would help displaced residents in the meantime, Ms Berejiklian replied: "We're getting to the bottom of what happened.

The Mascot Towers building where people in 122 units have been evacuated.
All residential units and all but two ground-level shops were evacuated on Saturday. Source: AAP

"The NSW government will hold everybody to account, that's our role.”

While the cause of the cracks has not been determined, local MP and former mayor Ron Hoenig noted another apartment tower was recently built next door.

Mr Hoenig said he had been advised there was no chance the evacuated complex would collapse.

He said on Saturday residents had been told to prepare to be out for at least a week.

Renters have been informed their temporary accommodation will not be covered by insurance while owners' alternate housing may also not be covered.

"It's a bit annoying to not really know what is going on and move at short notice but we'll deal with it," Mascot Towers tenant Jade told reporters on Saturday.

Residents leaving the Sydney apartment block carrying their belongings and pets.
Residents were given less than an hour to evacuate, leaving some feeling "homeless". Source: AAP

Another tenant, now living nearby with a friend, said he was effectively homeless after being given 75 minutes to leave on Friday.

Transport for NSW confirmed there was no impact on the airport rail line or Mascot train station, which sits underneath the complex.

In December, the Opal Tower apartment complex in Sydney Olympic Park was completely evacuated due to cracking and reports of movement.

Engineers Australia said the situation was further evidence changes were needed in the building and construction sector.

"The evacuation of Opal Tower was a major wake-up call for NSW to get serious about reform," spokesman Jonathan Russell said in a statement.

One of the major cracks in the Sydney tower.
The cause of the cracks has still not been determined but another apartment tower was recently built next door. Source: AAP

"It is time to finally implement the changes agreed by Council of Australian Governments in response to its inquiry into regulation of the sector."

Ms Berejiklian on Sunday said she anticipated the government's new Building Commissioner would be announced in the "very near future".

Mascot Towers' building manager and strata company have been contacted for comment.

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