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HIA calls for changes to developer licensing scheme

Media release

HIA calls for changes to developer licensing scheme

Media release
“HIA has today called on the ACT Government to go back to the drawing board on its proposed developer licensing scheme, and to re-focus the legislation on its initial scope and purpose,” said Greg Weller, HIA Executive Director for ACT & Southern NSW.

“At today’s Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Planning, Transport and City Services hearing, HIA outlined the significant degree of ‘mission creep’ from the initial scope of the planned developer regulations.

“As an industry we accept the need for accountability in the development and construction sector, particularly for large and complex buildings. However, the ACT government needs to provide greater clarity of purpose in its proposed scheme.

"As it stands, the current Bill covers the field - everyone is 'a developer', and that’s not right.

“Builders of standalone houses and low-rise apartments are already required to be licenced in the ACT and there is also a functioning consumer protection system in place for these buildings, called home warranty insurance, which protects against defects and non-completion.

“This legislation would be labelling anyone in this part of the industry 'a developer' - and the compliance burden it brings.

"This would include builders of standalone houses which would serve no direct purpose or benefit adding yet another layer of regulation and one more impediment to solving our housing crisis.

“There is a balance to be struck between ensuring consumers are protected, having a shared responsibility across the supply chain, and businesses are not unduly hindered in addressing the critical housing shortage within the Territory.

“Alongside the developer licensing proposal, separate legislation also proposes to create a ‘reverse onus of proof’ for builders and developers when in litigation.

“Rather than requiring the person or group pursuing an action to establish that the builder or developer has caused the alleged problem, this effectively requires they prove their innocence. In many circumstances this could be impossible, with a builder having no control over what happens after handover.

"This is a fundamental shift from one of our basic principles of law, that you are innocent until proven guilty,” concluded Mr Weller.

For more information please contact:

Greg Weller

Executive Director - ACT/Southern NSW
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