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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2020 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 21 May 2020) . . Page.. 1045 ..

Title read by Clerk.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for the Arts and Cultural Events, Minister for Building Quality Improvement, Minister for Business and Regulatory Services and Minister for Seniors and Veterans) (10.18): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Bill 2020.

The ACT government is committed to working towards the highest quality built environment in Australia which is livable and sustainable. We will raise community confidence in the built environment, including by raising the professionalism and standard of practice in the local building industry.

The ACT government is also empowering the community with more accessible information on their rights and responsibilities when building, buying or renovating. Madam Speaker, we want Canberrans to have more options for seeking redress if things go wrong while building, buying or renovating a home. The community and building industry have told us that they want a quicker, lower cost and simpler way of resolving disputes about residential buildings.

In other states, there are provisions for conciliation and other means of sorting out residential building disputes before they reach the courts or tribunals. While the courts and the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal will still be there for those who need them, we have been developing an alternative approach to resolving such disputes.

The Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 reflects these priorities. The bill creates a legal framework for introducing a new dispute resolution scheme in the ACT for residential building disputes. This framework is based on our previous consultation on building regulatory reforms, and the consideration of systems in operation in other jurisdictions.

The bill inserts a new part into the Building Act which introduces this framework, the objective of which is to facilitate constructive and productive dialogue between parties to a residential building dispute.

This new part includes definitions and concepts that are intended to capture disputes between residential building owners and commercial building practitioners or developers. It is not intended to capture disputes such as those between a commercial unit title developer and a licensed builder, or a builder and a subcontractor. Those disputes are dealt with under the security of payments regime and are not affected by this bill.

The provisions of the bill that introduce the framework for residential building disputes have a delayed commencement of two years to allow for the development of new detailed regulations which will be developed as a result of even further consultation. Over the next 12 months we will be consulting with the public and the industry to finalise the details of the scheme, ahead of its introduction in 2021-22.

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