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Industry looks to Building Ministers Forum for urgent national action

"Industry is concerned that the lack of consistent or coordinated action by governments in addressing the current building industry regulatory problems not only threatens many thousands of on-site jobs but also undermines public confidence in the industry as a whole," Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"The current situation also threatens the revenues of the industry's supply chain of product manufacturers and materials suppliers, not to mention all of the service sector employers including commercial businesses and even real estate agents.

"The issues about the quality of buildings to be considered by tomorrow's Australian Building Ministers Forum are not just a question of how components of the industry are regulated jurisdiction by jurisdiction.

"The issues confronting the Ministers relate to the need to maintain public confidence in the sustainability of Australia’s fourth largest industry which produces over 7% of our GDP in value added terms.

"The industry is not only a huge employer, but it also generates billions of dollars to state treasuries through stamp duties and payroll tax that are used for social infrastructure and public services.

"Specifically, we would like to see the BMF agree and take action on the following:  

  • Establish a national taskforce of government and industry to develop a consistent implementation plan (including a sensible timetable) for the Shergold/Weir report on Building Confidence;
  • Move to address the current and looming national problems with professional indemnity and building insurance availability;
  • Take a consistent approach to identifying and rectifying in each jurisdiction the identified buildings with cladding problems;
  • Take enforcement action against those responsible for the non-conforming and/or non-compliant cladding products as well as other identified building defects, for example, Opal Tower and Mascot Towers in Sydney;
  • Reach agreement for the states and territories to adopt consistent licensing/registration and compliance/enforcement regimes for industry across Australia as has occurred with Corporations Law or Uniform Credit Law and Industrial Relations. If states need to cede power to the commonwealth to achieve a standardised legislative regime they should do so; and
  • Commit on the part of states and territories to bring back the 'cop on the beat' for regulation of the building industry ie the regulators need to get out into the marketplace and demonstrate they are prepared to take action against industry participants who do the wrong thing."