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None . . Page.. 182 ..

Mr Speaker, this is a Bill the Government is implementing to assist business and consumers alike and is proof again that this Government is going to be involving itself in bread-and-butter issues from the outset. I commend the Bill to the Assembly. I also present the explanatory memorandum to the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Connolly) adjourned.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning) (10.39): Mr Speaker, I present the Building (Amendment) Bill 1995.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill proposes to update the residential insurance and builders licensing provisions of the Building Act 1972 and make minor changes to the Act. It is compulsory for residential building work to be covered by insurance that protects owners if the builder dies, disappears or becomes insolvent. The maximum cover was set in 1988 and does not reflect the current cost of housing. The maximum cover for completed housing would be increased from $50,000 to $200,000. This is the amount recommended by the Trade Practices Commission.

Residential builders usually receive deposits of 5 per cent on more expensive houses. The proposal would therefore increase the maximum cover for deposits from $5,000 to $10,000, which covers a 5 per cent deposit on $200,000. The largest premium is now $295 and the change should cause only a small increase. Changes would also be made in other details of the insurance scheme. Insurance would be extended to garages that form part of the structure of the living areas of a house and might affect the stability of a house.

The figures that define cover under the insurance scheme may be affected by economic conditions, moves to national uniformity or conditions in the insurance industry. To facilitate changes, it is proposed that the figures be transferred from the Act to the Regulations. There have been some complaints about the insurers’ handling of claims and reporting requirements would therefore be introduced. Insurance is not required if houses are built by owner-builders and it is equitable to maintain this exemption. However, it is proposed that builders of houses built by owner-builders should be alerted by annotation on building records that are checked during conveyancing.

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