RESIDENTIAL BUILDING WORK QUALITY (WARRANTIES AND DISPUTES) BILL 2012
Mrs ARMITAGE ( Launceston ) - Mr President, most of my comments have been fairly well summed up by the members who have already spoken. I have quite a few concerns with this bill, starting with how we are going to pay for the increased bureaucracy considering that Workplace Standards has already been cut back. I am not convinced this is the right or most appropriate model. I agree with those members who feel that this legislation would be more adequately incorporated into the security of payment scheme, which I am advised has been working quite well since it was introduced in 2009 and provides independent arbitration. We should be reducing costs in bureaucracy, not creating more. I have no doubt there are many disputes from both sides, often very costly. I know from my own experience with builders that I often change my mind. It was mentioned by, I think, the member for Murchison that often when you are building you start with something and then change your mind. Mr Gaffney - Two bedrooms to four.
Mrs ARMITAGE - Probably not quite that great, but I have made some changes, particularly with kitchens and bathrooms. I feel some of the fines associated with a builder not making these changes in contracts are very onerous. We have all heard of cases - the member for Windermere has mentioned to me in the past a couple of cases he knew of with terrible problems with the home people had built and the money they had lost. There was also the case mentioned in the second reading speech. I thought it was inappropriate to detail a case in the second reading speech, however we all know cases such as that where people have been burnt. Even during the briefings we heard where builders have been burnt, so it is not one-sided. That is one of the issues I have here. I do not doubt we could all come up with many more cases. We are told the objective is conciliation but the question is: is the stick we have with this bill too big? Personally, I would like to see this bill go back to the government with the intent of them working through the problems associated with the proposed legislation, together with the industry. I have real concerns with trying to amend this bill on the run. I believe everyone would be better served if government sat down with industry to resolve the many outstanding issues including the fines, the powers of the commissioner, the transparency, and what appears at the moment to be one-sided obligations - the list goes on. Mrs Taylor - Do you think eight years has not been long enough to do that? Mrs ARMITAGE - I do not think the time is relevant if we do not have the outcome we need. You could spend 20 years but if you still do not have an outcome that is satisfactory to everyone, somewhere along the line something has gone wrong. Mrs Taylor - It might just be that there is not an outcome that is satisfactory to everyone. Mrs ARMITAGE - I would dispute that. Instead of spending more money and creating more bureaucracy - Mrs Taylor - It was a question, not a statement. Mrs ARMITAGE - I accept that, but it is not a question I can answer. When I look at the bill before me and see that we have a security of payments scheme which seems to have worked quite well, from my understanding, perhaps instead of creating another bureaucracy why do we not try to incorporate this so we have certainty included in the security of payments scheme for both sides? There seems to be something missing. I will not be voting this into the committee stage as I cannot support the bill and I do not believe I should be supporting something that is totally flawed. I would like to see the bill go back to the government to try to work out the differences and resolve the problems.