Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2518 ..
MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (6.17), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thank members for their contributions to this debate. In particular, I thank Mr Hargreaves for his compliments about staff and about the process. Mr Thwaite and Mr Ryan are with us here this evening. I would offer my thanks to them as well for an excellent job. It is a job that has been going on for three years. This is not something with which we crept up on the Assembly. It was announced last November by the Chief Minister. Mr Humphries reiterated it during the election campaign.
Until Monday I thought the Labor Party was going to support this legislation. When Mr Hargreaves cites closer scrutiny as his reason for the change in their decision on this, I guess we have to read that as Labor Party code for "rolled in Caucus". When you go through it and you find excuses to have your out, you have to read it as the Right being rolled by the loony Left in the ACT yet again. It is quite clear that the parliamentary wing of the ALP in the ACT again have not taken on board the suggestions made in their own internal reviews. I have some sadness, because I thought this legislation would get through with the unanimous support of the Assembly.
Mr Hargreaves, in his speech, quite clearly identified that it is ideology that stops them from doing something that is cheaper. He himself identified the proposed system as tighter, quicker and cheaper, but they cannot vote for it because of ideology. What we see here tonight is the mask slipping on Mr Stanhope's new Labor. It is really run by Mr Berry's old Labor, which I think is a shame.
Ms Tucker mentioned that the plumbers had difficulty. Yes, the plumbers did have difficulty, but with the process, the round table, departmental officers giving briefings and answering questions, changing things as we went, and putting out an exposure draft before we brought the legislation to this place we have endeavoured to work very hard to meet everybody's needs.
Mr Osborne said that he had seen too many problems in Tuggeranong. That he has seen any problems in Tuggeranong is disappointing, but you have to remember that those problems occurred under the current system. We seek to build a better system - indeed, the system Mr Hargreaves identified as tighter, quicker and cheaper. Mr Quinlan also had some stories like those of Mr Osborne. I am sure we have all heard horror stories about buildings. My own parents replaced their bathroom three times in 1969 because the timber was rotten. What we offer through this legislation is protection. There is an extra level, a third tier, where we will be auditing the private certifiers to ensure that we are getting it right. Contrary to what some people here would say, the Government is not shirking its responsibility.
Mr Kaine raised concerns about those who end up with lemons. Unfortunately sometimes we do see this with people's dream home. I think it is a great thing to call it a dream home. It is something we all hold dear. Housing lemons are already covered by the home owners warranty requirements in Part IV of the Building Act. But in addition, as another level of protection, certifiers will be required to hold personal indemnity insurance. If certifiers certify something that is faulty and it is found to be faulty, they too will be liable for prosecution.