Local Government Building Legislation

13 Nov 2012 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for State/Local Government Relations on risks to councils from dodgy builders.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Currently in the New Zealand community, local councils are calling on the government to introduce warranties into building legislation to protect ratepayers and councils from the financial fallout of dodgy builders and to hold builders responsible for their work. In the past, councils and ratepayers have been left to foot the bill of building works that have failed to meet construction standards with many businesses opting to go bankrupt in order to forfeit any financial obligation. There is a proposal which suggests a warranty scheme to protect consumers and local authorities from liability when builders fail to meet standards, improve accountability and require builders to fix unsatisfactory work within 12 months. My questions for the minister are:

1.Is he aware of similar problems facing our local councils in South Australia?

2.With the Local Government Association calling on the government to assist in stimulating the building industry, has the minister considered any such legislation to ensure the integrity of the industry and prevent unnecessary financial burden on councils and ratepayers?

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (14:33): I thank the honourable member for her very important question. I am not aware of the position over in New Zealand but I will undertake to actually find out exactly what their legislation provides. In regard to what is happening in South Australia, we have no plans to introduce any legislation protecting people from shonky builders but we are in discussions with the LGA in regard to a provision for where there is damage to footpaths and the like left behind when a builder finishes their work, so we are looking at and discussing those sorts of issues.