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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 25 February 2010) . . Page.. 730 ..

The bill also requires the works assessor to have professional indemnity insurance and ensure they do not have a conflict of interest. It will also legislate for ACTPLA to make requests for further information relating to a unit title application from an applicant.

The Canberra Liberals have consulted HIA, MBA, the Property Council and the Canberra Business Council, who have not raised any major concerns with the bill. However, we are concerned that this will increase the cost of the unit titling process if ACTPLA do not reduce their application fee for a unit title application.

HIA have raised this issue with us, and we call on the minister to use the passage of this bill as an opportunity for genuine deregulation that will reduce costs for the construction industry, albeit in a minor way. The construction industry is subject to many regulations, and regulations can add significant costs to the price of a house or unit. This is especially significant for first homeowners, many of whom purchase a unit as their first home.

As I was saying before, all these things add up when it comes to housing affordability. This is not a major plank of it but the government should be looking, wherever possible, to reduce the burden on homebuyers because we know that there is a significant amount already through regulation, through taxes and of course through the very high costs of buying land in this town. So I would put that on the record for the government to consider because there is obviously a potential for a doubling up of costs with the outsourcing if the application fee stays as it is.

In summary, we will be supporting the bill.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (11.52): The Greens will be supporting the Construction Occupations Legislation Amendment Bill before us today. The key part of the legislation which we support is that the bill introduces a new occupation for licensing; that is, a works assessor, and this person will be able to assess elements of the unit titling process which were previously done by ACTPLA. This includes such things as inspecting and collating reports on landscaping, encroachments, units, car spaces, letterboxes and so on.

Generally I do support this move, because it is certainly a job which has to be done, and I understand that delays in ACTPLA are sometimes holding up unit titling. As this is the last thing that has to be done before the sales can be completed, this hold-up by ACTPLA can be very expensive for developers and inconvenient for potential residents.

This bill also provides for ACTPLA or the works assessor to request further information from the applicant, and ACTPLA will do auditing of the work to be done in the certification of the unit titling. I understand that there will be a 100 per cent audit rate for the first two years of the operation of this new level of certification. I am very pleased to hear of this level of auditing, given some of the problems which I will talk about in a minute. The bill also sets out the technical provisions which construct processes to clarify details of the unit title assessors’ reports, requirements and powers.

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