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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2143 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the Chief Minister announced in 1997 that the Government, if re-elected, would introduce legislation to provide for "industry certification"; that is, legislation to enable private certifiers to approve work performed by the ACT construction industry or to enable the person who carries out construction work to check it and "self-certify" it. Self-certification is followed by limited audit inspections.

The financial implications of the reforms resulted in a reduction in the funds allocated to the Urban Services Department in its budget for 1998-99, which was recently endorsed by the Assembly. It is therefore important that the Assembly now also supports the legislation to bring in these reforms.

Under the reforms proposed by this legislation, some government plan approval and inspections processes will give way to private certification and/or self-certification by industry practitioners. To protect the public, private certifiers will be required to be registered and will be subject to audit and possible disciplinary action.

Mr Speaker, the registration Bill deals with the registration of private certifiers. It provides a framework for registration; establishes qualification requirements, which are to include suitable amounts of professional indemnity insurance; provides for performance audits of private certifiers; and establishes a disciplinary procedure.

Another Bill in the same package, Mr Speaker - the Building (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1998 - provides for the application of private certification to building work, while the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 1998 will introduce the self-certification of electrical work.

If the reforms are agreed to, they will allow the Government to introduce regulations setting out the detailed requirements of what has to be certified and who has to certify it. Mr Speaker, plumbing work is entirely controlled through regulations, and reforms to plumbing work will be among the changes made in regulations. The Government intends, Mr Speaker, to table the proposed regulations as soon as possible after the legislation is passed so that the registration of private certifiers can begin before the end of November this year.

Mr Speaker, the reforms being proposed follow extensive consultation with the community and the construction industry. I would like to offer thanks here to Mr Hargreaves, Ms Tucker and Dave Rugendyke. With them and with groups like the MBA, the HIA, the plumbers and the electricians, we had a round table to bring people's concerns out into the open, and discussion followed which enabled this to go ahead. So I thank those members for their assistance.

Mr Speaker, in addition, the details to be included in the regulations will be decided in cooperation with the community and the construction industry. Accordingly, once the legislation is in place, I anticipate that industry certification will commence in the ACT on 4 January 1999. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hargreaves) adjourned.

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