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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 1107..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

period between the commencement of the Building Act and the commencement of this legislation, if Mrs Dunne's amendment is successful.

Clearly, no disciplinary action can be taken either. A builder whose licence expired during this period would be unable to get a new licence and would therefore be unable to undertake building work. That is because the Building Bill clearly states that you must be licensed to do building work. So uncompleted building work would not be able to continue in those circumstances. Is that what Mrs Dunne really wants? That is likely to have significantly detrimental financial impacts upon the territory and undermine confidence in the ACT construction industry. I do not think that Mrs Dunne fully understands the implications of her amendment.

At 5.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

MR CORBELL: Is that what Mrs Dunne really wants-no capacity for builders to renew their licence during that period, no capacity for disciplinary action to be taken at all and building work commenced by a builder whose licence subsequently expires and is unable to be renewed, sitting idle during that time? The bill contains important reforms that should not unnecessarily be delayed, and it is clearly better that the two complementary bills have the same commencement day, so they can be implemented together. This provides a clearer and more certain regulatory framework for the building industry. Work on the implementation and education strategies are already well in hand, and in the government's view a delay until 1 January 2005 is both unacceptable and unreasonable.

MS DUNDAS (5.01): I will take this opportunity, while we are talking about the timing of this bill, to note that these bills did create some controversy, particularly in the building industry. That is because there has been a lot of misinformation around about how they will operate and what they will mean for people who work in the construction industry. This afternoon we will be debating amendments from every group in this Assembly. So I thought having a round table on this bill was appropriate. I convened that round table on Tuesday and by all accounts it was a very useful exercise. I thank all members for participating in that. I think we have all gained a better understanding of this bill.

Early in the week and last week, there was a suggestion that the Assembly was being obstructionist, trying to delay debating these bills. I counter that point and make it very clear that this is not the case. Members were simply trying to understand what is a complicated piece of legislation and what were some quite complicated amendments. We should use the roundtable approach more often. It is a great way to make sure everyone understands the issues and to clear a way for legislation to be debated clearly without having confusion and the misunderstanding of amendments flying across the chamber.

I turn to the specific amendment. Mrs Dunne has raised her concerns about the confusion that I have already spoken about in relation to this legislation. I take the points raised by the minister. The Building Act is in place. The minister has the discretion to delay commencement on this piece of legislation for up to six months, and I think there is time between now and September to get some information out there, to have the conversation


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