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Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) reform

September 17, 2019

The Victorian government has without any obvious fuss introduced the Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 into Parliament.  The Bill includes a number of changes to the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 which attempt to improve the operation of Domestic Building Disputes Resolution Victoria (DBDRV).

HIA will provide more information to members once it has a chance to consider the impact of the amendments.  The Minister’s second reading speech however includes acknowledgments that the DBDRV legislation needs to be amended to make it “more efficient, fair and effective” in resolving domestic building contract disputes.  In particular, the legislation seeks to streamline the process for accepting or rejecting a referral of a dispute and the process for issuing a Certificate of Conciliation to allow parties to progress to VCAT and not be stuck in the DBDRV process.

The Bill seems to be an acceptance by the Victorian government that the DBDRV process has not achieved its objectives.  While it has been promoted as free, fair and fast it unfortunately has not been able to achieve these aims for most participants – builders and home owners.  While HIA does not expect the legislation amendments to resolve all problems with the DBDRV the Bill moves towards a repudiation of the Victorian government policy of requiring mandatory conciliation of all domestic building contract disputes.  It is now expected that over time the operation of the DBDVR will become more like the operation of the abolished Building Advice and Conciliation Service – albeit with more bureaucratic steps involved.

For further information, please contact HIA Workplace Services on 1300 650 620.