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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2517 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

part of this self-regulatory system I would ask the Minister to ensure that people do not suffer some major disadvantage. Beyond that, I see no reason why it cannot work. There will still be plenty of supervision, both government and private, of what is going on and I would expect that it should work very well.

MR RUGENDYKE (6.12): I shall speak briefly in this debate. Mr Speaker, the main issues for me are those of due process, an efficient inspection system, an efficient plan section and an efficient procedure right through. It has become clear to me over the years that the system in the ACT is not up to scratch. Things could be done better, with fewer delays, and in a much more efficient way. Certainly, the process is more efficient elsewhere in Australia. I believe that we need to improve the efficiency of the inspection system.

The three Bills on the table are a step in the right direction to rectify the ongoing glitches that have been in the system. I am satisfied that the mechanisms proposed in the Bills for policing standards have the capacity to keep the industry honest. The Government ultimately retains the watchdog role, but at the other end of the process the community stands to gain a better building and inspection service. I am certainly prepared to take that step if it does mean making an improvement.

The other factor for me, Mr Speaker, is that private inspectors are already being utilised within the industry. In some cases the inspection of footings and concrete slabs, for example, is already being undertaken by people other than BEPCON employees. So, in a sense, there has already been a move towards this system.

We must be sure that the building inspection process retains the standards that are set, retains the accountability and delivers fewer delays for people having their homes built. That is what we should be striving to achieve. I believe that these Bills can achieve this outcome, and that is why I am prepared to vote for them.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (6.15): Mr Speaker, I rise to support this legislation. I made my decision to support this legislation towards the end of last year when the in-principle discussions were going on. My decision came from watching how inspections occur. Having heard the arguments from Labor, Mr Osborne and others, I think all of us would agree there is some weight to those arguments. But when we make decisions in this Assembly rarely are things black and white. It is a matter of deciding what is the best outcome.

I believe that this will be an improved system, just because of the number of inspections that we can now expect to happen. For the Government to provide the number of inspections we would like to see, it would require a significant injection of funds into the inspection system, which I think would be inappropriate. I think there are more important priorities for funds. We can achieve the same goals or better goals by a better method. It seems to me that both methods have their downsides, but on a cost-benefit analysis this is a more sensible way to go, and that is why I am supporting the legislation.

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