Page 49 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

This is a fairly lengthy and detailed bill so I will try not to go into too much detail today. In relation to the Building Act, there are a few noteworthy amendments, including clarifying the ability to request new or existing structural engineers certificates and a number of building certification clauses. This is in response to the Supreme Court case on the 2010 Barton Highway bridge collapse whereby the existing legislation needed interpretation and clearer directions and abilities.

It also clarifies and tightens up clauses to ensure that all relevant people take due responsibility in regard to building work involving asbestos. This includes a range of appropriate penalties for licensees, builders, and asbestos assessors and removalists. This is very important as more and more older houses with friable asbestos are being redeveloped or demolished. Asbestos is not something builders and others in the industry can be complacent about.

The third area is ensuring that builders meet the Building Code and creating appropriate offences in this area. In relation to the Construction and Occupations (Licensing) Act, there are a few noteworthy amendments including increasing the maximum penalty for intentionally failing to comply with a rectification order as well as allowing for additional considerations. It also allows for another builder to undertake the rectification work in cases where the contractual relationship has broken down or where the previous builder has demonstrated substantial failures. Thirdly, it gives the construction and occupations licensing registrar a broader range of options in relation to occupational discipline for licensees.

In relation to the Electricity Safety Act, the key amendment relates to giving inspectors the power to give directions to rectify unsafe electrical installations including requiring appropriate written information about the installation or work. This could be an expert report or independent certification.

I note that the MEPS, or minimum energy performance standards, used to be the national standard used to rate energy efficiency of equipment and was based on Victorian standards. This has now been transferred to central responsibility and since October 2012 has come under the commonwealth Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012 or GEMS. This bill repeals our dependence on those Victorian MEPS standards and reflects the transfer to the GEMS act. I note that there is still scope for the ACT to require higher GEMS standards for appliances than the commonwealth if that were desired.

Finally, on the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012, the amendments address a range of issues associated with making it easier to comply with the legislation, particularly tier 2 retailers. The intent here is to streamline the reporting process and clarify some of the compliance measures; make adjustments to reporting periods to 10 working days; create a process for tier 2 retailers to pay an energy savings contribution to achieve their energy savings obligation, and an amendment to clarify the application of penalties as they apply to shortfalls.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video