Page 2818 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 13 August 2013

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electronic records, the ability for the registrar to access information is limited. This bill ensures that information held in electronic form may be accessed. In order to access information, the registrar must have reasonable grounds to suspect the person has the information. We understand that the amendments retain the right of the person not to self-incriminate and to client legal privilege. The information-gathering provisions in this bill are the same as those in the Planning and Development Act.

The bill allows the registrar to determine that further training is required in a certain industry, and all members of the industry will be required to undertake that training. Again, such training opportunities must be reasonable. The bill also requires that apprentices must be supervised at all times as well as being registered. Industry groups have told the opposition that this may not be a workable provision. It appears that this provision may merely provide a further disincentive to employers to take on apprentices. Again, it will depend on how this is actually enforced.

Finally, the bill deals with the notification requirements for changes to standards under the Building Code and Plumbing Code. I understand that the new requirements for notification are already being met, but the amendments will ensure that a minimum notification standard is maintained.

The opposition will be supporting the bill. However, as foreshadowed we do have some concerns about the broad authority given to the registrar under some of the provisions. The Canberra Liberals recognise that construction is vital to Canberra, and we are concerned that this bill could end up being more red tape for an industry that is already very heavily regulated.

We are concerned that the government is seeking to make serious changes to the construction industry, perhaps without proper consultation with the industry. If this continues, the industry may lose confidence in the system, and may lose even more confidence in the system to the detriment of all Canberrans. The opposition will pay close attention to the implementation of the provisions in this bill to ensure that the construction industry is not further crippled by unnecessary regulation.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.26): The Greens will be supporting this bill today. I am pleased to see many of the improvements to the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act and regulations as well as to other building and construction acts contained in this bill before us today. These are a continuation of improvements stemming from the Building Quality Forum of July 2010 and its subsequent report and recommendations.

I note that ACTPLA spent many years trying to improve the time frames for planning and development, but it seems that the balance fell to the side of simply not enough checks and balances in an industry which was trying to speed up developments and cut corners. Not all developers worked this way, obviously, but the system overall fell down somewhat and some people are still struggling to live in buildings which suffered this fate. This continued work of ACTPLA to now bring this balance back towards the side of ensuring a high quality of building and development is very important.

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