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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 2436..

MR BARR (continuing):

system. Separate licensing boards existed for builders, electricians and plumbers, drainers and gasfitters. There was an inconsistent approach to enforcement provisions, disciplinary sanctions and administrative procedures. The unified approach to construction occupation regulation was finally realised when the gas inspectorate was transferred from ACT WorkCover to the Planning and Land Authority in December 2005.

Under the new act, the Registrar of Construction Occupations has the ability to undertake inquiries into disciplinary matters. Under the old framework there was only the ability to cancel or suspend a licence, or to effectively do nothing. The new regime provides for a more flexible approach to imposing a range of sanctions as appropriate, aimed to identify and rectify inappropriate behaviour, without allowing unscrupulous or incompetent tradespeople to continue practising unchecked. The new system has proven to be an effective means of addressing compliance issues in the construction industry. The new laws also allow the registrar the ability to issue orders requiring that substandard or unlawful work be rectified, a power previously unavailable to the licensing boards.

Mr Speaker, the review of the legislation undertaken by the Planning and Land Authority has identified a number of improvements to the legislation. Some of these will require further consultation with industry and may subsequently result in legislative changes. The review also identified a number of minor refinements to processes and administrative arrangements within the department. Some of these have been addressed internally and others will result in minor legislative changes to provide further clarity and further improve the operation of the legislation.

It is expected that these legislative changes will come before the Assembly in 2008, following more extensive consultation with industry. This review has therefore been a valuable step in the process of evaluating and bedding down what is essentially an entirely new regulatory framework. The government will build upon the strengths in the act to improve the operation of the act's enforcements and disciplinary provisions. We will continue to work to ensure close cooperation with the training sector to ensure the flow of adequate numbers of skilled workers into the ACT labour force, and to ensure that the construction industry is able to continue to deliver housing stock in Canberra as part of the government's overall strategy of ensuring the provision of more affordable housing.

Appropriation Bill 2007-2008

[Cognate paper:

Estimates 2007-2008—Select Committee report—government response]

Detail stage

Schedule 1—Appropriations.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.11—Department of Territory and Municipal Services, $266,922,000 (net cost of outputs), $147,451,000 (capital injection), and $964,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $415,347,000.

Debate resumed.

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