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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 2 August 2016) . . Page.. 2156 ..

stakeholders to improve statutory warranties, prevent phoenixing, and impose appropriate penalties in cases where a licensee is subject to an occupational discipline order.

The bill does not include all the possible changes that have been suggested by industry but it is certainly a good start. I congratulate the directorate for the work they have done in bringing this bill to this place today.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.10): I will be supporting this bill today. The bill continues the government’s work to ensure that the territory’s building regulation is relevant for industry and the community. Many of the amendments respond to changes in the building and construction industry or are intended to improve the clarity and operation of the respective laws.

The bill includes important protections for residential unit owners. The number of new units built in the ACT each year is now greater than the number of houses. Increasingly these units are in residential buildings that are more than three storeys high and this trend will continue as we see more medium and high density development in Canberra. Therefore, it is timely that we make changes to the statutory warranties to support owners of these units as well.

This bill broadens the existing provisions to allow the registrar to consider a person’s history in relation to other licences they have held and whether they have previously been a director, partner or nominee. For example, a person who is the sole director of a corporate licensee which has a large debt to the territory in relation to an incomplete rectification order can start up another licence and continue operating while failing to comply with the requirements of the first order.

To improve public protections, amendments to provisions for new licence and renewal applications give the Construction Occupations Registrar the ability to take into account a director, partner or nominee’s compliance history in their own right or as a director, partner or nominee of another licensee of the applicant.

In particular, the registrar can consider whether the person has contravened or is contravening a court order or an order made by ACAT or relevant tribunal relating to a construction service, occupation or occupation class under this act or a corresponding law in another state or territory, the licensing act or a condition of their licence or a rectification order under this act or a corresponding law.

The registrar will also be able to consider whether any of the relevant people have a debt owing to the territory in relation to a rectification order and does not have or is not complying with a formal arrangement to pay the debt. The association with a related licence is at the level of people who are directly part of the entity, that is, directors and partners and those who hold specific obligations under the act, being directors, partners and nominees. The registrar would still be required to believe on reasonable grounds that a refusal is necessary or desirable to protect the public. This prevents people being refused a licence for problems that they were either not responsible for or were relatively minor. A decision to refuse a licence remains a reviewable decision.

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