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A fresh start for building industry regulation

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Planning Minister Matthew Guy today announced he would reform the oversight of building industry regulation to meet the 21st century needs of consumers and industry participants.

A new Victorian Building Authority (VBA) will be established as the single over-arching body responsible for setting and enforcing building industry regulation following an extensive review of the existing structures.

The functions of the Building Commission, Plumbing Industry Commission and the Architects Registration Board will be absorbed into the proposed new Authority, which will provide a single point of governance for builders, plumbers and architects.

The decision to establish the VBA is the latest in a package of reform measures which include a new Compliance and Enforcement Policy and a new Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to effectively oversee and improve the performance of the Victorian building permit system.

Together, these and other measures are designed to deliver consistency of outcomes for consumers; focus on dispute prevention rather than dispute resolution; raise safety and technical standards as well as practitioner capability; and, improve regulation enforcement.

“The establishment of the VBA in conjunction with these other reforms are a critical step in ensuring the ad-hoc approach to industry regulation over the past decade is brought to an end,” Mr Guy said.

“The current system does not promote consistent service capability and dents consumer confidence and respect for the industry. The building industry and those who work in it are important to Victoria’s economic health – which makes these reforms critical.

“The reform package is designed to ensure building industry practitioners have a system which enables them to deliver services consistently and professionally, while consumers have confidence they will receive the services they have been promised.

“It is important that we not only focus on how regulation is set but also how it is enforced. The establishment of the VBA along with the other reform measures will enable us to do just that, and assist in the further implementation of the Auditor-General’s recommendations on compliance with building permits,” Mr Guy said.

It is proposed that the VBA will be led by a Chief Executive Officer and constituted by an independent Board that will set strategic directions, operational policies, priorities and key performance measures in line with Government policy.

The Coalition Government will conduct industry consultation on the proposed changes and implementation prior to legislation being introduced to Parliament next year.

The proposed changes will also incorporate outcomes from the public consultation undertaken earlier this year on reforms to Victoria’s domestic building consumer protection framework.

Reforms that are already underway, and existing operations will continue under the guidance of the Building Commission until the new arrangements are in place.

To download a copy of the report visit www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning

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