Page 1843 - Week 06 - Thursday, 5 May 2005

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including builders, building surveyors, electricians, gasfitters and various plumbing occupations.

During the first six months of operation of COLA and its consequential reforms, several minor wording anomalies were identified. Enhancements were suggested to improve the operation of COLA and some of its operational acts. This bill addresses those anomalies and makes the wording of several provisions in the amended legislation clearer and more effective in achieving their intended outcome. None of the provisions of the bill imposes regulatory burdens any greater than in the current legislation.

The bill reduces some of the burden on home owners in that it provides certain exemptions from having to make older parts of houses fully comply with the current building code when they are extended or renovated. These exemptions apply where it is likely to be practical or cost effective to achieve building code compliance. The code’s requirements covering asbestos, fire protection and basic safety are not affected by these exemptions. The exemptions apply only in relation to houses and non-habitable buildings, such as carports and garages, so the code’s provisions covering apartment units and commercial buildings continue to fully apply. The outcomes of industry consultation on the proposed exemption to the code have been incorporated into the bill, and I would like to thank the people and the industry groups who provided comments on the proposals.

Recent work by officers dealing with the detail of asbestos provisions identified a possible anomaly in the Building Act’s provisions covering the handling or disturbance of asbestos in buildings. This bill will remove doubt about the application of the act to all cases of asbestos work on buildings, which is consistent with the original intent of those provisions in 1984. The amendments do not foreshadow the work of the ACT’s asbestos task force; rather, they clarify the current regulatory position in a way that is consistent with how asbestos laws have been applied in the territory since 1984.

The bill will also allow corporations and partnerships to be licensed in the COLA occupations covering plumbing plans certifiers, the people who approve plans for plumbing and drainage in buildings. This amendment is anticipated to increase the very low number of people licensed in that specialised profession.

In conclusion, the suite of minor legislative enhancements in this bill respond to the needs of administrators, the community and relevant sectors of the construction industry. It will make the jobs of complying with and administering COLA and its operational acts easier by clarifying certain provisions and removing a sometimes expensive burden on home owners doing renovations and extensions. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Seselja) adjourned to the next sitting.

Working Families in the Australian Capital Territory—Select Committee


MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.00): I move:


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