The Builders Collective of Australia (BCA) has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, urging the Government to introduce a Royal Commission into the national building industry.
The BCA believes that ‘appalling failures’ within the Australian construction sector demand a Royal Commission into the industry.
President of BCA Phil Dwyer says well-publicised events in Melbourne and Sydney have highlighted ‘the system’ is broken and failing the people.
“One only has to visit the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal building in William Street, Melbourne on any given day and look over the schedule for the day’s hearings. The Tribunal is virtually under siege from disputes,” he commented.
Mr Dwyer says more often than not they are hearing about hard-striving citizens who have experienced bad dwelling design, cutting of corners, or builders who work purely on a basis of expediency.
“A Royal Commission with nationwide coverage would surely not be a place to dodge the fact that the system is badly broken and in need of a complete revamp,” he said.
Mr Dwyer did welcome the recent VCAT judgment regarding the Lacrosse apartment tower fire – an outcome that they had been fighting for years.
“The judgement is a breath of fresh air and vindicates our long-held position. But this moment must be taken as a chance to move this industry forward,” he said.
“Conflicts of interest, poor oversight from regulating bodies, and seeming indifference from Governments ensure that regulations, standards, and expectations are not being met in modern-day Australia.”
The BCA’s paper which was submitted directly to the Hon. Scott Morrison outlines several key points that have emerged in recent years. These include:
- The decline in strict compliance to standards in the building sector began with the deregulation/privatisation of the various inspection regimes around Australia, commencing in the mid-1990s.
- The privatisation of building certifiers/surveyors.
- The virtual collapse of Builder’s Warranty Insurance (BWI) in 2001 with the demise of HIH Insurance, only to be replaced by the HIA’s own scheme and the developer-friendly ‘ten-point plan’ that still poses as a BWI scheme.
- The past 15 or so years has seen a major shift toward higher density living. Apartment towers are now home to a large and increasing percentage of the Australian population.
*As of writing Mr Morrison has not responded to the Builders Collective of Australia’s call and this article will be updated in the future.