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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1119..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

The government is pursuing a range of additional regulatory reforms for the building industry. Once these measures have been introduced, the government will review these government certifier provisions to ensure that they still provide an appropriate "last resort"alternative.

Mr Speaker, this bill addresses a fundamental flaw within the current system of building certification in the ACT. It is important that people who have undertaken the necessary steps to have their buildings certified are not penalised because of certifiers being unable to complete projects to which they are appointed. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Consumer and Trader Tribunal Bill 2003

Debate resumed from 20 February 2003, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (11.10): The opposition will be supporting this bill. I note from the tabling speech that there are certainly a number of benefits. Might I also thank the government for the briefing that I was given. I thank Bronwyn and other departmental officers for the good natured way in which they conducted the briefing. I also thank the department for the excellent job they have done in respect of the various stakeholders. I think that is most commendable and I, as well as the stakeholders to whom I spoke, greatly appreciate what has been done.

There are a number of benefits in consolidating the Agents Board. I have had the opportunity to talk to my former colleague, Mr Hird, who is on the board and is a person of great experience in these matters. He, too, is very happy to see this piece of legislation. I thank the Attorney for mentioning in his tabling speech Mr Hird efforts in respect of this legislation.

There will be a number of benefits in consolidating the board and the dispute resolution committees for the security industry into one tribunal. The bill will improve, standardise and streamline the tribunal's processes, and I will make a couple of points about that shortly. Also, the appointment process of tribunal members will be standardised. Appointment of members to bodies such as tribunals often can be somewhat time consuming, and the standardisation may well assist there. Another feature is that people who have particular expertise can be called upon when required; and there is a limit to the number of people who can be appointed to the tribunal panel.

I am quite impressed with the greater flexibility of the hearing of matters and disputes in these industries. Tribunal procedures can certainly vary according to the complexity of a matter. It is pointless having a full board of, I think, seven sit on hearings, no matter how trivial. So the greater flexibility is a good thing. For example, decisions on simple matters will be able to be made on the basis of submissions rather than a hearing.

As a result of this bill, tribunal matters will be able to be heard by one member, or a number of members, depending on the complexity of the matter. As I indicated, my understanding is that at present all members have to attend a hearing. However, if need


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