Page 1598 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 July 2020

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We have implemented fundamental reforms to the building system, but, of course, the work does not stop there. As part of the 2019-20 midyear budget appropriation, the government committed to a second stage of building reforms. Work under a second stage of reforms will be to implement the outcomes of the building review relating to the licensing and accountability of design and building practitioners; the regulation of people contracting to the public; insurance; contracts; and protections for residential building work. We will be consulting with industry and the community on these reforms.

We will also consult on the findings of the review of the ACT security of payment system and ways that the system can be improved to help make the building industry fairer. The remaining reform on ACT procurement arrangements will inform this work on security of payments. We will also consult further on the alternative dispute resolution system to ensure that the framework we have legislated will be of most benefit to the community.

In addition to reforms that arose from the review of the ACT building regulatory system, stage 2 relates to participation in national projects under the Building Ministers’ Forum that started after the current reform program was agreed in 2016. The ACT government will continue to work with colleagues across other states and territories. However, we continue to be clear that we will not be winding back or removing existing standards for the sake of consistency and the lowest common denominator.

The ACT building reforms have provided a range of new regulatory tools and options and will help to educate industry and the community on minimum acceptable standards for documentation, certification and building work. From the beginning of the building reform process, we recognised that there were systemic issues in the industry that would take time to address. The purpose of the Building Act review was to make sure that the objectives of building regulation were being met, to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of the public by setting minimum standards for the design, construction, maintenance and use of buildings, and to protect those involved in the construction process from unfair or incompetent practice.

We found that, while the building regulatory system included standards and obligations for documentation, certification and doing and supervising building work, reform of the industry was needed to achieve better and more consistent outcomes for the public. We have worked to make those changes. While any system will need to be revised from time to time to remain relevant, the basic expectation of compliant, competent work will not change. We expect that, as a result of the reforms we have implemented, compliance and practices in the industry will continue to improve over time as the reforms are applied to new building and construction projects and businesses in the ACT.

The government has been open in stating that it wants the best built buildings in the country and that poor quality work is not acceptable. I thank those in the industry and in the community who have supported us in our goals to improve industry practices and the regulatory system and have worked with us to implement the reforms. I hope

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