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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3631 ..


insurance, lodgement of ratings and a range of other technical requirements. Although ACTPLA can, and does, audit assessments and follow up concerns with individual ratings, there is no disciplinary framework that can be accessed when non-compliance is detected. Therefore, compliance has partly relied on the cooperation of the assessor. If the assessor does not cooperate, the existing regulations limit the direct action that can be taken against assessors. The action is limited to deregistration.

The proposed arrangements will transfer the registration process for assessors into the existing construction occupations licensing framework. It will consolidate all provisions about the technical side of energy ratings into a single code of practice administered by one body. This will allow the ACT Planning and Land Authority to access a full range of educational and disciplinary actions. This can include the capacity to require retraining, rectify an assessment or impose conditions on a licence, including requiring supervision. There will be mechanisms for assessors to gain further competency, and consumers will have an avenue for review of their energy efficiency assessments.

In most instances, these actions will be sufficient to rectify a problem. However, in cases of genuine malfeasance, major disciplinary sanctions can be pursued. Current obligations on assessors with regard to conflict of interest, and requirements to hold suitable qualifications and insurance and to adhere to technical and administrative processes, will be largely unchanged. But licensing will allow ACTPLA to regulate the industry in a transparent manner within an established framework.

This will also shift the burden of responsibility for regulating assessments for new homes from building certifiers to licensed energy assessors. Clear delineation between the responsibilities of different agencies means that the ACT Planning and Land Authority can integrate auditing of energy ratings into construction occupation processes and make it part of auditing the entire building process.

The bill also proposes a continuation of the existing conflict of interest provisions for the sale of property and new conflict of interest provisions for assessments of building work. This balances the rights of consumers to know the relationship of the assessor to others involved in the construction with the need to promote collaboration between professionals.

I do not advocate licensing merely for the sake of it. And licensing alone cannot form the entirety of a regulatory system. But this bill provides one of three foundations for an effective scheme—appropriate regulation, education and effective compliance action. No one aspect will work in isolation. A licence cannot prevent human error. Auditing alone cannot prevent people operating outside protocols. And education does not mean that consumers and other practitioners will be able to insist on a certain level of quality in a very technical market. Licensing will, however, be complemented by more auditing. At least five per cent of all ratings will be audited.

Good design and efficient homes are only part of achieving energy savings. Householder behaviour and the use of appliances and other items also play a major role in overall energy use from a building. The framework proposed in this bill provides a platform to support the extension of the rating and other regulatory systems


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