Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 4 March 2004) . . Page.. 805 ..
nature and do nothing about co-regulation or cooperation in regulating the building industry. Whether you like it or not, the building industry in the ACT does a great deal of self-regulation. There have been many problems in the building industry in the ACT which have been solved—not by the regulator but by the industry itself. One of the most important aspects of public policy in the last little while has been the introduction of the MBA Fidelity Fund. This fund, more than any other aspect of building regulation or building law in the ACT, has done something to deal with the shonks.
I have been informed by people who have close association with the MBA Fidelity Fund that something like 20 builders who previously operated in the ACT are no longer operating because they have not been given indemnity insurance by the Fidelity Fund because of the quality of their work or the fact that they are not financially viable. This is what real self-regulation and co-regulation can do. It is unnecessary to have draconian measures set out in regulations that say that the builder will lose four demerit points if a smoke alarm is not installed. A smoke alarm is very important, and somebody should pay the price if it is not installed. It is not the builder who should pay the price but the certifier who ticks off on the building.
You lose demerit points if the wall is not plumb. What is “plumb”? These regulations do not look at fitness for the purpose; they look at prescriptive things such as whether there is a three-millimetre or eight-millimetre gap, whether things are square and whether floors, ceilings and sills are strictly horizontal. If you run a level over any floor in this building or any other building around town, you would be surprised at how many are not horizontal. But somebody could lose demerit points if you ran your level over any of the buildings built in this town in the last three years or built prospectively.
These are the reasons why the Liberal opposition cannot support this suite of bills. I commend the government for making a start. It is a start; the process has been improved, but it has not been improved enough. I have had a whole lot of arguments put forward by the government in the last little while as to why, first of all, we should debate this legislation today and why it should be passed. The doozey of them all was the one put forward today: if we did not debate and pass the legislation today we would not get our national competition policy payments which were due at the end of this month. The trouble is—
Mr Corbell: You didn’t even bother to pick the bill up till last week.
MRS DUNNE: Mr Deputy Speaker, I would like that withdrawn. That is absolutely and utterly untrue.
Mr Corbell: It is not unparliamentary.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please withdraw.
Mr Corbell: No, I won’t withdraw.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please withdraw. We have got 20 minutes.
Mr Corbell: I don’t see how accusing a member of not bothering to pick the bill up till last week is unparliamentary, but, for the sake of time, I will withdraw the comment.