Page 275 - Week 01 - Thursday, 27 February 2014

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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) (11.45): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill amends the Construction, Occupations (Licensing) Act and regulation, the Electrical Safety Act and the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act. The bill includes amendments to the existing provisions in the licensing act for keeping a register of information about construction licences and making that information available to the public.

Although the existing law requires the Construction Occupations Registrar to make information available to the public, it does not provide guidance on how the information must be provided. Some information held in the register may not be suitable for publication on a website or for general disclosure. This could include personal details such as residential addresses and information of a confidential nature that may be disclosed to the registrar in relation to compliance and enforcement. Disclosure of some information could also be considered unfair, such as publishing information on a previous disciplinary action that was not upheld on review.

To avoid privacy and other issues, at present, only names, licence classes, licence expiry dates and conditions and endorsements are published weekly, with other information available on request. However, it is important for people who engage construction practitioners to be able to make an informed decision on which practitioner to engage. This includes whether a licensee is subject to conditions, suspension or other relevant action.

This bill therefore creates a public register which includes a subset of information about construction licences, including details of certain disciplinary actions and rectification orders. The public register approach balances privacy and fairness for licensees with the need for the community to access relevant and up-to-date information on licensees they have engaged or are considering hiring.

This is part of the government’s ongoing work to improve the quality of building work in the ACT.

The bill includes new inspection powers that apply to building assessment work and works assessment that is regulated primarily under the licensing act. These powers complement existing inspection powers for other occupations under operational acts such as the building and electrical safety acts.

A further amendment rounds out the existing enforcement powers in the licensing act by including standard provisions for obtaining a search warrant for things or activities connected to offences.

The bill also includes amendments to the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act. These amendments clarify when an activity is excluded from an

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