Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . Search

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 804..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

officer because there is legislation that says what he does."That is a very narrow meaning of the word. He is not an independent office holder; he is part of the planning-

Mr Corbell: An independent planning authority.

MRS DUNNE: Yes, he is part of another structure. It is an independent planning authority, but, as the industry rightly points out, there is a difference between what is done in planning and what is done in building and there should be a distinction between the two. Planning and building are two distinct functional processes. The planning function deals with design, siting and location. It is the sort of thing that gets lots of people in this town into a lather. But the really crucial part, I would submit, is the one that becomes the poor cousin: that is, the actual execution of the process. You can have all the great urban design you like and all the design and siting rules that you like, but, if you have a bad builder, you are not going to come up with a good product. If you have a bad plumber, you are not going to come up with a good process and if you have an engineer who does the wrong thing, you are not going to come up with a good process. The fact is that engineers and architects are not covered by this legislation. Admittedly the minister has introduced other legislation on that today, but there are still considerable numbers of building occupations that are not covered by this legislation. The person who is their registrar, the person who is making decisions about whether they have demerit points, whether their licence is suspended or whatever, is not a free agent.

I have received complaints-there have been no current complaints-in the past that influence has been brought to bear on the registrar not to take particular action. Because this person is in the pecking order, he has had undue influence put on him not to take particular action. I don't think that is appropriate. Someone who has an important job to ensure the quality and the safety of the buildings that we live in should not be in a position where he is potentially interfered with in the conduct of his duties. One of the reasons we will be opposing the legislation is that we believe that the BEPCON process should be taken out of the planning authority. They need to be independent-a parallel structure-with good lines of communication; they should not be one and the same thing.

This was a proposal put forward by the Liberal opposition when the Planning and Land Bill was passed in December 2002. It is still a live issue. This view has been reinforced with me by the building industry. Submissions were put to the government by the building industry, but not by the usual suspects. There are the usual suspects-the Housing Industry Association and the Master Builders Association-but they were joined by the Master Plumbers, Drainers and Gasfitters Association, the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors, the ACT Construction Industry Training Council, the Australian Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association and the Building Designers Association and all made one submission. The Building Designers Association said, "Please regulate us as well."The government said, "No, not at this stage. It is too difficult."If we had taken the time, we would have been able to do these things. These are some of the reasons why we will not be supporting the legislation as it currently stands.

When we come to debating the regulations, unless there are significant changes to the regulations we will be opposing the schedule in the construction industry occupation legislation that covers the regulations, simply because the regulations are prescriptive in

Next page . . . . Previous page. . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . Search