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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3048 ..

… a full and fearless examination of why complaints of our members have not been dealt with by your bureaucracy to date.

That really is at the heart of this matter; it is not about examining each individual building complaint, important though they may be. There are rules, regulations and processes in place to deal with those by experts more qualified than those of us here in the Assembly. The problem is the application of those rules and processes.

This is not a witch-hunt of builders; we have an excellent building industry here in the ACT. It is vital that building standards are of the highest quality and provide certainty and safety to unit buyers and the community. The question is whether and how well those standards are being applied in the ACT. It is not about necessarily suggesting new regulations but testing the compliance of the current ones. It is not necessarily about more regulations but testing the quality of the regulations in place now. It is not a hounding of individual bureaucrats. They are parts of a government-led, government-guided and government-controlled system. It is that system itself that needs to be examined.

There can be no greater example of the fact that it is the governance and application that is the main cause for concern than the correspondence from the Owners Corporation Network ACT. Their letter states:

Individually, many of our members have been seeking help from your government’s agencies for up to five years without result, and it must be said they have been met with a level of indifference from your bureaucracy that is both disgraceful and inexplicable.

These concerns should be examined. The letter continues in relation to the response to issues raised on the Stateline program:

If by now, he and his authority do not recognise the huge problem that is growing, in which his Authority’s self regulated private certification is the causal root, in which his Authority’s auditing function has failed miserably, and to which he can offer only a ten point review to be conducted at some unspecified future date, then it is with great reluctance that we must say that we have no confidence that he or his authority will achieve any significant improvement in the current demonstrably ineffective procedures.

It is these kinds of claims that need to be examined objectively and dispassionately. In our dissenting report to the estimates committee, we recommended that:

… the Standing Committee on Planning, Public Works and Territory and Municipal Services conduct a review of the problems associated with building certification and warranties as they relate to residential buildings.

This motion is taking that recommendation into action. Correspondence from the OCN raises issues that need to be addressed. Mr Savery has said:

… if industry doesn’t do something about it, then the Government will.

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