Thursday 2 November 2006

Second Reading

Mr PARKINSON (Wellington - Leader of the Government in the Council) - Mr President, I move -
That the bill be now read the second time.
Mr President, this bill amends the Building Act 2000 to make the Director of Building Control the sole entity responsible for accrediting building practitioners in Tasmania.
All other roles under the act previously performed by the authorised body, which was the Tasmanian Compliance Corporation, also become the responsibility of the Director of Building Control. The responsibilities include auditing and dealing with complaints and investigations involving accredited building practitioners. It is intended that the Director of Building Control will assume the new responsibilities from 1 November 2006.
Under transitional provisions in the bill ongoing matters such as applications, complaints and investigations will also be transferred to the Director of Building Control. Building practitioners' accreditation fees will be reviewed. For 2007-08 and beyond the Government will ensure that fees are determined on a cost-recovery basis. Fees will be set by regulation and will therefore be subject to review by the Subordinate Legislation Committee.
In introducing this bill, the Government has acted promptly and responsibly to maintain public confidence in the accreditation of building practitioners. Mandatory accreditation of building practitioners was introduced by the Building Act 2000 in July 2004 and ensures that building practitioners are properly qualified, experienced and competent and have in place appropriate insurance. It serves to protect consumers from unprofessional conduct and bad workmanship and seeks to maintain acceptable levels of health, safety and amenity in regard to Tasmanian buildings. I commend the bill to the Council.
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - There is some understandable urgency about this bill which of course has my full support. After all, the Director of Building Control is intended to assume responsibilities of the former Tasmanian Compliance Corporation on 1 November. The Government might well wish that the director had taken control a few years ago.
There are certain responsibilities that taxpayers expect to be handled by the governments they elect and pay for and perhaps in retrospect this is one of them. If taxpayers did not expect governments to perform these roles then perhaps they ought not elect them.
In giving my support to this bill I would like to express the hope that future Tasmanian governments will look carefully before hiving off responsibilities the taxpayers expect them to perform in an efficient and impartial manner. Mr President, if it has not been said before, governments and government bodies can perform certain tasks in the public interest far more efficiently and more cost-effectively than any collection of for-profit groups and former government members. I support the bill.