Page 1046 - Week 04 - Thursday, 21 May 2020

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The bill also introduces a power for the minister that oversees the building regulatory functions to make a statement of expectations in relation to the activities of the construction occupations registrar, who is responsible for licensing construction practitioners as well as administering and upholding standards in construction work.

This bill will allow the minister responsible for the regulatory functions of the registrar, the Minister for Business and Regulatory Services, to provide a broad statement of expectations in relation to the registrar’s important work. This is not to direct the registrar in how to exercise his or her functions but, instead, to provide a formal way of communicating the minister’s expectations so that they are clear to all who operate in the ACT building and construction industry. As statements of expectations are publicly available, they will increase the transparency of the relationship between the minister and the registrar. This transparency is highly desirable, as public scrutiny acts to enhance regulatory integrity.

Regulatory integrity is linked to achieving better outcomes. Regulators who operate in rapidly changing regulatory environments have to be adaptable to responding to the varying situations. This bill gives clarity to the registrar regarding governmental priorities and allows the minister and the registrar to respond formally to emerging issues.

What the bill does not do is allow directions to the registrar that relate to any particular case, person or project about how the registrar exercises his or her functions. That is because, as a regulator, the registrar requires public confidence in its independence. The registrar also has my confidence in the valuable work performed, including the step-up of enforcement and compliance activity within the construction industry. The statement of expectations provides a formal way of communicating expectations and increases transparency and confidence.

Madam Speaker, the two changes in this bill—the residential dispute resolution scheme and the statement of expectations—mark the latest steps forward in strengthening the integrity of the ACT building regulatory system. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Parton) adjourned to the next sitting.

Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Amendment Bill 2020

Ms Orr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS ORR (Yerrabi—Minister for Community Services and Facilities, Minister for Disability, Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety and Minister for Government Services and Procurement) (10.24): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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