Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1540..
MRS DUNNE (4.53): The Architects Bill is an important piece of legislation that brings the licensing and description of the works done by architects into the twenty-first century. It replaces a 1959 act which is sorely out of date. Through my consultation with the industry the message has come loud and clear to the opposition that the industry is very much in favour of this legislation being passed. It was said to me that the bill was about 95 per cent of what the industry could ask for.
The industry does have reservations. I will attempt to address some of those reservations in my amendments. The opposition will be supporting this bill in principle and in its final amended form. We believe that it is an important piece of legislation for bringing clarity into the issue of the registration, licensing and regulation of architects, which is overdue. The practising arm of the industry has some concerns with the bill which relate to the imposts and legal requirements on nominees. I contemplated drafting some amendments in that regard but it would really have meant gutting the bill and going back to taws. The general message was that it was more important to pass the bill, even if it was a bit flawed, than trying to make it 100 per cent.
There is concern in the industry about the implications for nominees. I know the government has attempted to address some of those issues by amendments which have not yet been circulated in this place. I would like to place on the record one of the concerns of the industry, which is also my concern. It is not so much about the issue of nominees in general but nominees who are specifically employees of a company, and possibly a large company. Nominees who are partners in a company have a much better deal of it but, if someone is an employee, there is the risk-and I think it should be flagged here-that those people may become the scapegoats if anything goes wrong in an organisation. I would like the government to make it clear that that is not the intent of the bill.
That situation could be remedied by way of amendment but it would be quite complex and would needlessly hold up the passage of this bill. So I have not gone down the path of amending the bill, but I think we should flag that as an issue of concern. When we come to review the bill-all acts are reviewed after they come into operation-this is something that should be kept in mind. We should ensure that the operation of provisions in relation to nominees is such that nominees who are employees as opposed to partners or members of boards are not victimised.
I have some other quibbles with this legislation. The officials have tried to "harmonise"on this-they are not allowed to hum. The aim was to harmonise the regulation of architects from one jurisdiction to another. There is a view that we are not nearly as harmonious as we should be. There are some particular concerns because the ACT is an "island"surrounded by New South Wales. People in the New South Wales region practise in the ACT and require registration here as well as in New South Wales and-vice versa-Architects based in Canberra practise in New South Wales and require registration there, and there are some inconsistencies.
I have attempted to address some of those inconsistencies in amendments to more closely harmonise the ACT laws, the description therein of what architectural services are and some of the disciplinary measures, so they are more in keeping with New South Wales provisions. The clear message from the Productivity Commission when they reported on