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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1562 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

So the ACT's movement under the previous government was to the extreme. This amendment does address the issue of certification of last resort but it does not, as Ms Tucker rightly points out, address a number of other issues in relation to private certification.

The approach I have adopted as minister is that I want to see the adequacy of the audit process currently in place for private certification. The fact that disciplinary action has been taken against private certifiers, which has required this legislation to be introduced-certifiers have been refused permission to further certify because of lack of appropriate process-shows that we have an audit process that is operational. Whether or not it is operating adequately is a matter I am continuing to consider. Once I have seen that, Mr Speaker, over the coming year or so, I think the government will be in a better position to determine whether a move to reintroduce full government inspectorate services in competition with the private sector should be underway.

I think it is reasonable to state that, under a public inspectorate, there was not necessarily a rigorous level of inspection. For the 10 years leading up to the abolition of public inspection activity, not every house was inspected, whereas under private certification every house must be inspected. Under public inspection, only spot checks of work were done, and there was a random audit process. So a public inspector did not go out to every building-they went out to a collection of buildings and did spot checks. They did not seek to approve the work on every single building, whereas private certification does that.

So there are some balances that need to be struck. I want to see exactly how effective private certification is, and certainly over the next six to 12 months I intend to do that. If I am of the opinion that private certification is still presenting significant issues as far as quality of building work is concerned, then I believe there is an argument for the reintroduction of public inspectorate processes. However, that is a policy debate for another day.

I thank members for their support for this legislation and foreshadow that I will be introducing an amendment in the detail stage. That will be a minor change to the provisions of the bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clauses 1 to 9, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 10.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.22): I move the amendment circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 1601].

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