Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 6 Hansard (9 June) . .
Construction work carries significant health and safety risks. These risks are not only risks to construction workers, but to the eventual occupants and users of buildings and to the general public. It is important that only those people who will take their obligations under their licence seriously can obtain or continue to hold a licence.
With complementary amendments we will: provide for ongoing eligibility throughout the period of a licence as it is held; revise the maximum periods for interim and automatic suspensions to better consider the length of time it may take for ACAT to hear an application for disciplinary action and the registrar's awareness of the automatic suspension grounds; include requirements to report certain financial and other circumstances that would affect a licensee's eligibility to the registrar and create a related offence; and better explain how nominees are appointed and the eligibility requirements for a nominee.
In addition, the bill will increase the amount ACAT can impose on a licensee in relation to an occupational discipline order. It will increase from $1,000 to $20,000 for an individual, and from $5000 to $100,000 for a corporation. An occupational discipline order is intended to act as a disincentive. Given the large sums of money some people earn as a result of undertaking licensable work, it is important that the maximum amount can provide a sufficient incentive.
Other amendments revise provisions related to codes of practice and declarations of mandatory qualifications for consistency across related acts and consequentially revise powers of advisory boards.
The bill also amends the Planning and Development Act to better reflect the administrative responsibilities in relation to specific regulation of the building industry and its practices. This does not affect the regulation of the developments or any existing obligations of people carrying out work that must meet the requirements of the Planning and Development Act.
The primary amendment to the Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Act is to expressly provide for the making of codes of practice. Authorised nominating authorities already align their practices with a code of practice, and this amendment will allow it to be formally recognised under the act.
Maintenance of legislation is an ongoing process. Regulation is changed and refined in response to new issues and practice and as provisions are tested in the ACAT or in ACT courts. This bill expands on the reforms that started with a series of amendment bills in 2013 and 2014. It is part of the government's work to make sure that the territory's building regulation is relevant for industry and the community.
Madam Assistant Speaker, I congratulate the Environment and Planning Directorate officials for this important work and their commitment to the best outcomes for our Canberra community. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Wall) adjourned to the next sitting.
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