17 September 2013
Hansard of the Legislative Council
RESIDENTIAL BUILDING WORK QUALITY (WARRANTIES
AND DISPUTES) BILL 2012 (No. 52)
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) Mr President, plenty has been said on the bill so there is no
need for me to go into a great deal of detail. We are dealing with a very large
bill, and we are told there has been a considerable consultation period.
Someone mentioned eight years, so it has been a long time. Nevertheless, not
everyone is happy with the resulting bill, as the member for Elwick mentioned.
We go into a briefing situation, which we appreciate very much, but you hear
one side and think, 'Yes, I am on the right track, I know where I am going with
this', and then you hear the other side of the briefing and think, 'No, hang
on, I am leaning that way'. It is six of one, half a dozen of the other, and we
are trying to work our way through to a result that is going to make more
people happy. It has been interesting to listen to what is being said - some
people for, some people against, and some people looking to take the bill into
the committee stage.
The member for Huon feels that it is a flawed model and it
is going to be difficult to get amendments that might fix it in the committee
stage. Although I am of a mind to test it in the committee stage, just to see
where we go. The member for Hobart, with his amendments, may help to tidy up
the particular section he is dealing with. We heard that the construction
industry is on its knees and the Housing Industry Association says this bill is
a sledgehammer approach to what should have really been a salve between
industry and consumers. Leaving that aside, this bill seeks to address any
imbalance between builders and homeowners and to provide a conciliatory process
for the resolution of disputes, without resort to costly litigation.
We have heard about the six-month period, and it does not
seem to be as speedy a process as some would like. But, whatever the state of
the residential building industry, it should not prevent the aim of this
legislation. This is a complicated bill and it needs careful consideration.
From the research I have done - and I might just put it into Hansard -
in disputes between a builder and a homeowner as to alleged defects in
construction, the homeowner is often at a disadvantage as the terms of the
contract are frequently in favour of the builder. This bill seeks to redress
any imbalance and provide a conciliatory process for resolution of disputes
without resort to costly litigation.
The objective of the provisions of the bill is to avoid
costly litigation by conciliation. That objective will only be achieved if the
conciliator is properly qualified to carry out that responsibility. Care will
be needed to ensure that only properly accredited persons are appointed as
conciliators and that a properly qualified conciliator experienced in matters
arising in a particular conciliation is appointed for that conciliation
This is a lengthy and complicated piece of legislation and I
am prepared to move it into the committee stage to carry out the scrutiny in