In the wake of public and industry concerns over the structural integrity of the NSW high rise apartment development, Opal, Minister for Housing and Public Works, Mick de Brenni has stated that maintaining confidence in Queensland’s $46 billion building and construction sector remains paramount.
Mr de Brenni said that whilst questions have been raised about the builder and certifier in the Opal case, it is the whole system that needs attention.
“The building and construction industry in Australia has seen decades of deregulation, largely in the pursuit of productivity,” he explained.
“That has created a race to the bottom and as a result, confidence in the building integrity system has been undermined.”
In 2016, the Queensland Government commenced a comprehensive examination of the building and construction regulatory system. In 2017, the Government published the Queensland Building Plan (QBP), which aims to implement a reform program across the building and construction industry.
The QBP was the result of roughly two years of consultation with industry and the community and covers a wide range of areas important to the sector, such as building product safety, the security of payments and the rising issue of building certification.
Mr de Brenni said that 2019 will see a continuation of the implementation of the QBP reforms and that reform to building certification will be a key step for this year.
The Queensland Government has also announced plans to advance several reforms that aim to strengthen independence and improve professional standards and compliance of certifiers.
The news follows the findings of the Shergold Weir Report, by Professor Peter Shergold and Ms Bronwyn Weir which states that serious reform is required for Australia’s building certification, compliance and enforcement systems.
“Queensland had adopted all the recommendations in the report, noting that in most cases our standards were already at or above those proposed in the report, and where there are gaps, these are identified and will be rectified through the implementation of the QBP in 2019,” Mr de Brenni commented.
Lastly, Mr de Brenni states that the issue of regulatory standards and the responsibilities of states and territories require a high level of attention in each jurisdiction to ensure a robust national system.
“At the next Building Ministers’ Forum due in February, I will demand the federal government and all states and territories ensure they are meeting the high standards Queensland has set,” he said.