Page 2155 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2016

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person’s history, including other licenses that they have been a director, partner or nominee for rather than only licenses they have personally held. If the registrar believes on reasonable grounds that the refusal to grant a licence is necessary or desirable to protect the public, he may refuse to grant one. The registrar has a discretion to make this decision so that in cases where phoenixing is a possible problem it can be prevented. But people will not be unreasonably refused a licence. It is also worth noting that there are Corporations Act issues here, and there is a requirement for the commonwealth to consider acting in this space.

The bill requires increased reporting of things that would lead to the suspension of a licence. Under the current provisions suspension is usually for three months from the time of the event which would trigger automatic suspension. However, if the event is not notified, it is possible for a licensee to continue to operate while they might otherwise be suspended. This bill provides for automatic suspensions when eligibility to hold a licence has been lost. This could include situations where the licensee does not hold insurance or becomes insolvent. The suspension will continue until three months after the registrar is notified of the suspension. If the registrar is not notified, then the suspension will continue while the grounds for suspension exist.

The bill provides for an extension of an interim suspension in cases where the registrar has made application for disciplinary action to ACAT. The interim suspension will be allowed to continue until the matter has been heard by ACAT. Of course, in these circumstances we hope that ACAT can operate efficiently and hear cases as quickly as possible.

The bill provides for standard conditions in contracts involving residential building work. Many building disputes are the result of confusion over terms in the contract. Though the bill does not actually set out the standard terms, it provides for the introduction of standard terms to provide consistency in residential building contracts.

The bill also increases the penalties that may be imposed by ACAT in relation to occupational discipline orders. The current maximum penalties are $5,000 per breach for a corporation and $1,000 per breach for an individual. Such penalties are perhaps unlikely to act as a deterrent for unscrupulous licensees. The new provisions in the bill allow ACAT to impose a payment in an occupational discipline order of up to $100,000 for a corporation and $20,000 for an individual.

The bill includes a list of minimum standards for certifiers and a list of the functions of the certifier to make it clear exactly what they are responsible for. The bill amends the Planning and Development Act to reflect the fact that the regulation of the building industry is now a function of the Construction Occupations Registrar rather than the Planning and Land Authority. Finally, the bill amends the Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Act to allow for a code of practice to be developed.

In conclusion, the opposition supports these amendments to the building and construction legislation. We are always pleased to support sensible amendments, particularly ones that many in the industry and in this place have been calling for. We are pleased the government has listened to calls from the industry and other

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