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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 December 2020) . . Page.. 99 ..

which aims for an initial response to complaints about building and planning matters in five working days.

The government has been making improvements to the building regulatory system for many years. The first regulatory reform started in 2013 during the review of the ACT’s building regulatory system. Some of these earlier changes included establishing the public register of information about licences and increasing powers for the regulator to refuse a licence or respond to breaches of building law.

The majority of the 43 building reforms announced in 2016 are complete and have included the expansion of statutory warranties on all residential buildings; codes of practice; a new training course for building surveyors; legislation for an alternative dispute resolution scheme; a new building audit and inspection tool; and new powers to allow orders and disciplinary action in relation to directors and partners of licensed building businesses to help stop people avoiding their regulatory obligations.

The government has committed to a second stage of reforms. Under this stage we will address issues of licensing and accountability for people designing, building, certifying and contracting for off-the-plan; consider insurance and other protections for clients and building owners; implement a residential building dispute resolution scheme; and make improvements to the ACT’s security of payments scheme.

As well as these reforms, the government has committed to introducing a licensing scheme for property developers, establishing a team of building certifiers within the ACT public service, and introducing a registration scheme for engineers in the building sector in this term of government.

We will continue to provide progress updates on all of these commitments and against the additional commitments we have made to investigate, consider or implement further changes in response to the inquiry report. We will also continue to work with other jurisdictions on national building issues, including work to progress the recommendations of the Building confidence report.

The government has provided detailed responses to each of the recommendations, including the report to the Assembly on phoenixing matters, as requested in recommendation 19. While I will not go through all of the recommendations, the government agrees with 12 of the recommendations, agrees in principle with 20, and notes a further 12.

It is important to note that although the government does not agree with a small number of recommendations or with some of the suggested methods for addressing a problem, we understand the intent behind the relevant recommendation. Where we do not agree on the best way for that intent to be met, we have outlined our alternative for addressing the recommendation.

As an example, we do not support creating a new officer called the building commissioner, as outlined in recommendation 3. This is not because we do not want to support an independent statutory officer with overarching responsibility for regulating building work; it is because in the ACT we already have an independent statutory officer with overarching responsibility for regulating building work.

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