Page 742 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 8 April 2014

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In conclusion, I reiterate that the opposition will be moving amendments to this bill, but otherwise we will be supportive of the bill.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.41): The Greens will be supporting this bill today. I am pleased to see many of the improvements in this bill before us, including to the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act, to the Electricity Safety Act, as well as to the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act.

As I have said regarding previous recent construction legislation in this place, ACTPLA’s continuing work to ensure a high quality of building and development, as well as safe workplaces, is very important. This is the second bill we have debated in this place this year, and I appreciate that the staff in ACTPLA continue to look at reforms in this area.

It is important that the ACT government has enough levers, processes and sticks to ensure that thorough regulation of construction workers from all trades is developed, enforceable and fair. The Greens are very keen to ensure that the ACT is a place where workplaces are safe and that the quality of workmanship is such that home owners, property owners and tenants can all be sure that there will not be safety issues nor will they need sections of their houses rebuilt somewhere down the track after moving in.

In relation to the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act, in summary, the amendments create new inspection powers for works assessors and building assessors, establish processes for search warrants to enter premises if required, and update the provisions around the maintenance of a public register to ensure the right balance of privacy for licensees and public access to licensee information.

This legislation delineates between information on a register that ACTPLA will keep, which contains private contact information as well as demerit points, and the public register which will contain information such as public contact details and disciplinary action that has been taken. I note that licensees can take this matter to ACAT if they wish to have information suppressed from the register. This has certainly been an issue in the public debate recently, and I know that members of the public are keen to ensure that they are able to find out more about the licensees they contract to ensure that they are reliable.

In relation to the Electricity Safety Act, the amendments insert provisions to set energy efficiency standards for electrical appliances, and would allow for regulations to be made in relation to energy efficiency, energy conservation or environmental safety, and revise the product approval process to work within the existing national Victorian-led appliance approvals. I note that the ACT generally always accepts other states’ appliance registrations. This bill also allows for the ACT to refuse a product registration. The amendments ensure that the ACT will also retain the right to issue warnings and notifications of products, and it will allow technical changes to move electrical safety from the Planning and Development Act to the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act.

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