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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3629 ..

As can be seen from the number of pieces of legislation amended by the new provision for the licensing of building assessors, energy efficiency requirements are also integrated into many regulated processes. People should have confidence that the rating advertised for a property is a fair representation of its energy efficiency and how it has been constructed. While education of consumers and industry plays an important role in improving understanding of energy efficiency ratings, given the technical complexities of energy efficiency ratings there are a limited number of people with a full understanding of how they are prepared. Few consumers have the time to analyse the detailed outputs from the software to find any potential discrepancies. Therefore it is difficult for the market to adequately regulate assessors.

It is true that energy assessors are bound by fair trading obligations. However, there is no independent body that can assist consumers and industry to identify errors in assessments or enforce quality standards. The creation of a new occupation of building assessor, under the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act, COLA, allows energy assessors to be recognised as a distinct class of practitioner. The creation of a new class of assessor also brings assessors under the consistent regulatory framework established for all other licensed construction occupations. An important aspect of COLA is the formal complaints mechanism that consumers will be able to access. The additional auditing of assessments and practitioners will be undertaken by inspectors authorised under COLA.

The amendments have been formulated in a manner that will promote the smooth transition from the current registration process to licensing, allowing a 12-month transition if assessors are only operating software covered by their registration. There will be no requirement for consumers to have new ratings prepared if they hold a current rating prepared under the present arrangement.

The structure of the legislation means that other forms of building assessors, or additional endorsements for new software and other aspects of sustainability, can be easily incorporated if required. The proposed amendments will assist energy assessors and improve the regulation of assessments by establishing clear obligations for the industry and the regulator. They will also provide processes for the consumer to have complaints heard and to seek advice. This can only strengthen the energy efficiency regulation currently in place and promote a fairer market for energy assessment in the ACT. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (11.33), in reply: I thank members for their contribution.

As members would be aware, the bill makes a number of amendments that will provide for a strong regulatory framework for residential energy efficiency and public safety regulation.

Energy efficiency, improved resource management, sustainability and climate change issues are at the forefront of community thought and therefore government thought. The ability to respond to these issues and the delivery of measurable efficiency

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