THIS REPORT was published in the SMH on 20 November 2019 … with NSW Parliament shutting down shortly thereafter … the government pulled the Bill as it faced defeat on significant changes proposed by Labor and the Greens …
WHY hasn’t this been pursued by the wider Media?
WHY let the Berejiklian Government off the hook … just because Parliament has shut down for the Christmas vacation?
HOW many more Opal, Mascot Towers will it take for this Bill to be legislated?
HOW many more faulty, cracking, leaking/mouldy, combustible towers will there be? And with some built on toxic sites … 85 per cent of ‘new homes’ are defective on completion!
HOW many suicides with home owners unable to meet the cost of rectification?
HOW many more fatalities for construction workers on these dodgy sites?
‘Hijacking’: critical building reforms bill hits roadblock
By Lisa Visentin
November 20, 2019
The Berejiklian government proposed reforms to the state’s building industry are in disarray, after it abandoned an attempt to pass key legislation by the end of the year.
The long-anticipated reforms will not be debated in the upper house this week, after the government pulled the bill as it faced defeat on significant changes proposed by Labor and the Greens.
*Under amendments moved by the Greens, the government would be forced to establish an independent building commission to support the work of building commissioner David Chandler, who was appointed in August.
Angry owners outside Opal Tower in Sydney Olympic Park.Photo: Dominic Lorrimer
*Labor’s amendments proposed setting up a professional engineers’ registration scheme.*
*But the government is unwilling to countenance these changes, with Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson accusing Labor and the Greens of “hijacking [the bill] for their own selfish political agenda”.
“This is not the right time to score political points, we can offer consumers a better deal right now that gives us a chance to turn this industry around. Labor and the Greens have no right to deny them that deal,” Mr Anderson said.
*Former NSW treasury secretary Michael Lambert, who led a landmark review into the state’s building regulations in 2015, said it was “essential” for the government to establish a building agency that was “properly skilled and resourced”.
*“The building commissioner needs resources, and he hasn’t got it,” Mr Lambert said.
*A critic of the government’s proposed reforms, which he described as “piecemeal”, Mr Lambert said the Labor and Green amendments also weren’t sufficient to restore confidence in the building industry.
*“They need a full package of reforms to give people confidence,” Mr Lambert said. “The government should release a comprehensive plan which includes the implementation of my reforms and the reforms in the  Shergold-Weir report.”
*Mr Lambert made 150 recommendations in his 2015 report, about half of which have not been implemented.
The government’s bill, which Mr Anderson introduced into NSW Parliament last month, forms a key part of its response to the crisis of defective apartment buildings, which led to evacuations of the Opal Tower at Olympic Park and Mascot Towers in Sydney’s inner south.
The bill includes a “duty of care” provision that is designed to give homeowners who buy defective apartments an easier path to pursue damages. It will also create a registration system for the industry, while developers will be forced to comply with “declared” building designs.
*But the political standoff has cast doubt over the bill’s future. With Thursday the last parliamentary sitting day of the year, the bill won’t be debated until 2020.
*Labor’s spokeswoman Yasmin Catley said the Opposition would not back down.
“This bill is full of empty promises, but with amendments the bill will at least deliver some peace of mind to homeowners,” Ms Catley said.
“They’ve promised tough new laws yet they won’t bring them to a vote in the Parliament.”
Greens MLC David Shoebridge said the government’s reforms were “never going to be a serious fix to the quality and confidence problems” in the construction industry.
“The government will now head into 2020 offering nothing to long-suffering residents of Opal or Mascot Towers or any of the ordinary homeowners facing ruin through no fault of their own,” Mr Shoebridge said.
The creation of a statutory building commission was a key recommendation of a NSW parliamentary inquiry into building standards, which was chaired by Mr Shoebridge.