Queensland Housing Minister fails again as NSW acts on construction industry
From 29 June 2019
As the New South Wales Government becomes the latest to move to solve the building certification crisis threatening the construction industry, Queensland Housing Minister Mick de Brenni continues to fail in his responsibilities and must act or stand aside for someone who will according to Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace.
Mr Wallace, who has been leading efforts to force the Minister to respond appropriately to this looming crisis said “Industry has been telling Minister de Brenni about this impending disaster for more than a year and he has done nothing. He has ignored my independent report into this issue, whose 122 recommendations may have avoided matters ever coming to this point, for more than four years. Now, as NSW moves to solve the crisis, still Minister de Brenni sits on his hands while the industry grinds to a halt around him.”
“This is not good enough. Thousands of small businesses face financial ruin, and tens of thousands of livelihoods are now at risk because of this Minister’s refusal to face facts. He needs to act today, or resign right away and give the job to someone who will do something about this emergency.”
Yesterday the Government of NSW changed state regulations to allow licenced private building certifiers to hold Professional Indemnity insurance with an exemption for defined building cladding for policies commencing in the next twelve months. This will allow private certifiers to continue to operate in NSW in the short term and prevent crippling delays in the state’s building sector. The exemption will cover policies lasting until 30 June 2021, giving the state time to develop a longer term solution.
“Time is up on this issue. The NSW Government understands this, the Governments of South Australia and Western Australia understand it. Wake up Minister de Brenni! For a Minister that promised he would ensure that changes to protect subcontractor payments would result in every subcontractor in Queensland being paid, in full, on time, every time, the Minister appears to be like a rabbit caught in the headlights. If the Minister does not act by Monday he needs to go, and if he refuses to resign then Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to step in and force a change right away.” he said.
As Mr Wallace has repeatedly stated during his campaign on this issue, including most recently in a column this week in the Courier Mail, there is now only one remaining insurer willing to offer the professional indemnity policies that private certifiers in Queensland need to stay licenced and that this insurer is withdrawing from the market on 2 July 2019. Without licenced private certifiers new building owners will be unable occupy their buildings and builders, and their sub-contractors and suppliers will go unpaid.
“Queensland builders and subbies cannot wait. There are tens of thousands of livelihoods on the line in an industry which is worth $45b to the state economy. We need a Queensland Housing Minister who is willing and able to do their job, and we need that Minister by Monday.” Mr Wallace said.
As a previous builder and then later a barrister who specialised in the construction industry, Mr Wallace was the author of a 2014 report commissioned by the Queensland Government which made 122 recommendations to address significant then emerging concerns about accountability in the construction sector and the building certification system. If implemented these recommendations may have avoided many of the factors contributing to the current crisis. The Queensland State Government still have not responded to this report’s recommendations.