Building Work Contractors

09 Mar 2011 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make an explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Consumer Affairs on the subject of the review of the Building Work Contractors Act.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Nearly two years ago, on 28 April 2009 I asked the minister a question about the Building Work Contractors Act., and the review which had commenced four years earlier in 2005. The minister stated at that time that the review had been 'extended to consider the effectiveness of building indemnity insurance and aspects of that scheme' and further that:

 ...the review has since been overtaken by the Council of Australian Governments' decision in July 2008 to pursue a national trade licensing system, with builders as one of the priority occupations…

As the minister would be aware, the act deals with much more than licensing and covers a great depth of responsibility for this industry. I understand that OCBA has approached industry to consider reviews of this act. My question is: given that it is two years since I asked that question, and we have had the laws passed for national occupational licensing, and that the government initially announced a review in 2005, when will the review be undertaken?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Public Sector Management, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises) (14:23): I thank the honourable member for her most important question. Indeed, a review had been agreed to be undertaken; however, it was overshadowed by the COAG reform agenda, in which a great deal of activity occurred around a number of areas in line with the pursuit of a seamless economy. It involved a number of consumer areas and other policy areas as well, and we know that our national occupational licensing system is being completely reviewed—our whole credit law and our consumer law—so there is a wide range of major reforms around these policy areas. The work that had been considered at the time has certainly been overtaken by these events.

The COAG work has still not yet been completed—some of it has but not all of it. I am happy to take the question on notice and find out exactly where this particular project is up to. I know that it is, obviously, still a very important consideration for us, but in the broader context of our COAG agenda things have been overtaken and somewhat overshadowed.