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30 May 2023, 17:33
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

I rise to speak to the Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 and commend the comments of Mr McIntosh and Mr Puglielli. Legalise Cannabis will support this bill. The bill provides for a number of sensible reforms. It introduces the statutory appointment of a building monitor who will identify and report on systemic risks and issues facing domestic building consumers and advocates on behalf of those consumers. The building monitor will work with building system entities and strengthen information-sharing between the Victorian Building Authority and other building system entities. It formalises the role of the state building surveyor as the primary source of technical expertise and guidance for the building and plumbing industries, and it requires relevant building surveyors to provide owners with information about the RBS’s role and responsibilities. The introduction of building manuals is a great win for transparency and owners rights. Accordingly we are supportive of the legislation.

I understand that the opposition intends to move amendments to this bill. Legalise Cannabis Victoria will not be supporting those amendments. We are, let me say first of all, disappointed about not receiving a briefing from the opposition on these amendments, despite having requested that.

In respect of the proposed amendments relating to practitioner registration and the definition of registered building consultants, we are supportive of the proposed consultation process envisaged through the regulation reviews, and we are satisfied that these are both already adequately accounted for in the bill.

In respect of the proposed amendment for the exclusion of domestic building work from the scope of work for registered site supervisors, we are of the view that the amendment would not be appropriate, primarily due to the scope of that concept of domestic building work that is contained within the proposed amendments. Personally, I am deeply troubled that this proposed amendment would exclude oversight of high-risk residential apartment buildings, including Building Code of Australia class 1, 2 and 4 structures. I say this having seen firsthand the issues that arise in the construction of residential aged care facilities and retirement living developments in my role as a client representative over the last 10 years or so. During that time I saw some great builds and I saw some absolute shockers. I have also been involved in complex rectification projects, including removing flammable cladding from operating aged care facilities, and that has been a nightmare. In the removal of that flammable cladding, that which has been exposed has often struck me with the question ‘How did this building get approved in the first place?’, because those were vulnerable people in high-risk buildings. It seems to me that the amendments that are being proposed by the opposition would effectively take those buildings out of play for the purposes of the act, and that would be utterly counterproductive.

These kinds of facilities in all their forms, including residential apartment buildings, should be treated as high risk for the purposes of this act. For these reasons Legalise Cannabis Victoria will be supporting this bill and will not be supporting the amendments proposed by the opposition.


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