Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1559 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
fact contract-in some interstate certifiers on a case-by-case basis. In speaking to the department, it is clear that this is a much needed reform.
However, this is also a new market that the government is entering into. As such, it needs to be monitored closely at an administrative level, to ensure that PALM remains a certifier of last resort and is not actively competing in the market and, if demand does increase for PALM certifications, that the department is able to keep up with the demand.
The ACT Democrats welcome this reform and hope that consumers who have been left waiting by private certifiers are able to get quality and timely certification through the new government certification regime.
MRS CROSS(11.11): I also will be supporting this bill. I seek leave to have my speech incorporated in Hansard.
The speech read as follows:
The Construction Practitioners Amendment Bill 2003 closes a hole in the legislative framework and ensures consumer protection whilst protecting private enterprise from government competition.
This bill tightens a hole in the Construction Practitioners Registration Act 1998 and the Building (Amendment) Act 1998 that could potentially lead to large consumer losses. Currently, building certification is wholly privatised in the ACT, and hence each certifier has the right to decide what work they will accept.
It has been the case that midway though the completion of a house, a certifier has decided not to complete their work. In many cases, landowners who have invested their hard earned savings into building their dream house cannot have their house completed because nobody will certify their building.
Hence, landowners can be left with a half built house they cannot live in and no money. This bill protects these landowners in two ways. First, the government is providing a "certifier of last resort". This means the government will appoint a certifier if a landowner cannot find a private certifier to complete already started work. The use of a certifier of last resort means that the government will not be in competition for certification work with the private sector.
Secondly, it provides that a certifier will complete a job once they start it. Currently, a certifier does not have to give a reason as to why they have decided not to complete their work. This bill gives the government power to make sure a certifier completes their duty or provides for the certifier to find another certifier to complete the work, unless there is a valid reason. The provision places the cost of the change on the certifier, not the consumer.
This bill protects consumers whilst having no outstanding negative effects on the building industry. Hence, I will be supporting the Construction Practitioners Amendment Bill 2003.