Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 08 Hansard (Friday, 1 July 2005) . . Page.. 2658 ..
MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (10.02): I can only assume that there will be no unforeseen amendments to this bill.
MR SPEAKER: It is always open to deliver a surprise.
MR SESELJA: I know that it is always open, but sometimes when there are detailed amendments it is nice to have a little bit of notice.
MR SPEAKER: It is not required.
MR SESELJA: I know that it is not required and I note that amendments proposed for the previous bill are not being pushed now and will be debated on another day. I look forward to examining the amendments for the previous bill.
The opposition will be supporting the Construction Occupations Legislation Amendment Bill. The bill contains a number of technical amendments. The reason for some of those amendments, from the discussions I have had, is that the main legislation was rushed through late in the term of the last Assembly. I guess this is what you get sometimes when you rush things through. I hope that in future we will take a little bit more time to consider important pieces of legislation so that we do not have to come back and make numerous amendments to it. The main point I would make is that, in future, we should not rush these things through.
In terms of the actual detail of the bill, the provision that an extension or renovation to a pre-existing building will not be required in all cases to meet current building code requirements, depending on the scope or extent of the changes undertaken, is an important amendment. It is sensible. Obviously, the building code is something that is changing quite often, which does provide uncertainty, and it can be of concern if things change after an extension or renovation has been approved. I note that this amendment is an improvement and I certainly welcome it. We see the provisions concerning the licensing of certifiers as a positive.
Turning to some of the concerns that were picked up in the consultation on this bill, I was told that there was concern about the potential for increased cost burdens with regard to this latest bill around the building code for bushfire zones and certification for owner/builders. These obviously need to be balanced with the importance of having proper safety measures being applied to renovation in any of these areas and it is important to get the balance right. We do not see that concern as being significant enough to oppose this legislation; we just put it on the record.
The actual cost of complying with the building code in bushfire zones does need to be monitored. We have had discussion in this place about the added costs of bushfire abatement measures and there is a need for balance in these areas. Obviously, we need to be protecting home owners from the effects of bushfire but also, if possible, we do not want to add too many cost burdens, being aware as we are that it is expensive to build a home these days. Costs have gone up quite significantly over the last few years, making things more difficult for first home buyers coming into the market.