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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 3 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 795..


Further to this, if building professionals struggle to be across it, how can we expect members of the public to know their rights and opportunities when it comes to building a house, commenting on a DA or considering an investment? It has been reported that there is an issue in the ACT regarding phoenix companies and rogue builders. Such behaviour cannot be endorsed in any way. It is bad for the economy, bad for consumers and bad for the industry. Such builders tarnish the reputation of other builders and the industry at large.

Madam Speaker, construction sites are dangerous places. There is a high level of risk at these locations compared to most workplaces. It is for this reason that the ACT and all Australian jurisdictions have a suite of laws about workplace safety on construction sites. There is merit in re-looking at these laws to make sure that they are having the intended consequences and are not in any way providing a smokescreen or a perception of safety. I am not calling for more or less, simply for an opportunity for experts in this space to be able to give feedback about how these laws are being implemented in reality—that is, are the intended consequences playing out in reality on construction sites in the territory?

I believe that there is also merit in making sure that the industrial relations regime in the ACT is providing the best possible opportunity for productive workplaces. It would be impossible to look at an issue such as this without looking at the role of unions and other stakeholders. This inquiry is not intended to be an attack on unions or any other group, but a productive dialogue about how we can get growth in the sector.

Of course, the construction sector is a key driver of our economy and we need to do all we reasonably can to be sure that the sector is employing and investing in Canberra and the region. At present, I think all would agree that the sector is not at capacity; so there is room for improvement. I think it is important that the inquiry evaluates the role of the sector so its true value to Canberra is known.

I also call on the inquiry to review the availability of land in the ACT. It was not too long ago that the government announced that we would have a third-third-third policy: a third for private development, a third for joint ventures, and a third for the LDA. Now it seems that we have a 100 per cent policy, Madam Speaker; 100 per cent for the LDA. I do not think that this is the best way to deliver land to the market.

Just a couple of months ago we had the government saying that selling land for up to $800,000 and an average of $504,000 in Lawson was a great result. This to me sounds like it is actually a reflection of a government starving the market of land. Last year the government was determined to sell Denman Prospect as one large parcel of land for development. However, when it did not sell it, in part due to the onerous planning rules, the LDA said they would do it themselves. It was policy on the run.

An independent inquiry needs to look at the performance of relevant government practices, especially the LDA, ACTPLA, ESDD and the Treasury. These agencies and others play a significant role in the sector. Their influence is strong, and they have to be careful they do not overstep the mark. The opposition believes that this issue


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