Page 2373 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 June 2013

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Construction and Energy Efficiency Legislation Amendment Bill 2013

Mr Corbell, Pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (11.14): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Construction and Energy Efficiency Legislation Amendment Bill introduces new policy necessary to improve the quality of work in the construction industry and to protect the public. The quality of our built environment is important to our health, safety and wellbeing. This is the main reason there are minimum standards for construction and that practitioners that build structures and install and maintain building services are regulated. Unfortunately, the quality of work in some buildings can be substandard, which is of concern to the government and the community.

The bill will amend a range of legislation and contains a number of minor amendments to improve the operation of existing legislation for the construction industry. The bill is accompanied by detailed explanatory notes, so I will not go through all of the amendments here. However, I will highlight a number of important changes.

Amendments to the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act and regulation will give the Construction Occupations Registrar a better range of options to assess the competency of practitioners at the time they apply for a licence and throughout the course of their career and to respond to breaches of construction legislation when they occur. This includes to: create a new power for the registrar to consider the past and present behaviour of a licensee or applicant before issuing or renewing a licence; introduce new grounds for requiring an applicant or licensee to undergo a skills assessment; and provide a new system for ongoing training of practitioners.

Regulated practitioners are relied on to carry out a number of functions and meet obligations under law. Decisions that the registrar makes on who may hold a licence and whether they may continue to practice with or without restriction can have subsequent effects on work safety, fair-trading, planning and environmental matters. So it is important that the registrar has appropriate powers under the act and the range of operational acts for construction work.

New provisions will allow the registrar to take into consideration whether an applicant, nominee, director or company is disqualified in the ACT or another jurisdiction from holding a licence or subject to occupational discipline. For licence renewals, the

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