Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 12 April 2018) . . Page.. 1367 ..
Yerrabi a number of residents in my electorate have approached me seeking help to rectify issues they are facing with their property.
Often it has been the same story: the resident has bought off the plan and after moving in there were issues with the building, and they were now having difficulty getting those issues rectified. As time went on, it became clear that it was not one person here or one person there with an issue; actually, a lot of people were experiencing difficulties.
To better understand the difficulties being encountered and to identify the way I could best respond, I undertook a survey. It was a pretty straightforward survey that simply asked two questions and gave people a chance to say what they thought. Even though the survey had the potential to return a broad array of responses, the responses that were received were very consistent. The majority of people surveyed were of the view that the system was not quite working as best it could.
I appreciate that the ACT government is undertaking a number of reforms in this area, and I have no doubt that they will be an improvement on the current system. The feedback I received, however, touched on a range of issues that went broader than what the government necessarily has direct responsibility for. For example, people consistently raised with me that they had concerns with the certification process. People often questioned the role of certifiers in checking plans and making sure the plans were being followed. Certifiers in the ACT are independent and the certification process, while subject to some regulation, is largely self-regulated by industry.
Another example that was often raised with me was the difficulty that owners had in getting developers to rectify identified issues. Often I would be asked what the government can do to help. However, the rectification process is predominantly litigation focused and, as such, would not necessarily include a government-regulated mediation process.
Taking time to talk with people and understand the wider concerns has led me to the conclusion that there is a lot of work to be done here. It is also very clear from the feedback I received that people want to be able to share their views on the approach taken to building regulation.
I would like to note that I say the following with the committee’s permission. For this reason I took forward a proposal to the economic development and tourism committee, of which I am a member, for an inquiry into the areas of concern raised with me and which sat outside what was already being done.
I am glad my colleagues on the committee agreed to my proposal, as it is clear that there is a need for deeper discussion and potentially some different approaches. It is also clear that Canberrans need to be able to have their say in that discussion. I would encourage everyone in Canberra with a view on building and construction regulation, whether that regulation be government regulation or industry self-regulation, to share their thoughts by making a submission to the inquiry. I would also like to note that people will be able to submit to the inquiry with the option to redact any identifying information, should that be a concern. With Canberra continuing to grow and building