Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (19 March 1986)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (19 March 1986)


Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 19 March 1986 Mr Bell: The Elstons have to cop it sweet? Mr HATTON: In fact, the Elstons do not necessarily have to cop it sweet. Mr Speaker, I may just quickly note that I myself have been caught out. I am a mug like the Elstons. When entering into a contract for a home, I got my fingers burned by not following the instructions. I have taken that sweet. I have not complained about the government. I said: 'Well, you are pretty dumb, Steve. You should not have done that'. I learnt my lesson, I can assure you. Certainly, I sympathise with the Elstons because I know the problems. Legal protections are available unless a company has gone bankrupt, and that is a particular problem. If a company is in existence, there are remedies available through the courts, particularly in respect of breach of contract for work carried out in a non-tradesmanlike manner. That is an implied condition of contract that can be followed. In fact, Mr Speaker, that is how I won my case in court. The only trouble was the company went into liquidation and I still did not get any money. The point is that there are legal remedies available to people. Perhaps I can advise the honourable member later. Mr Speaker, I am running out of time to deal with the other issue of inspection. Allow me to remind the honourable member of a statement issued in January this year by the Secretary of the Department of Lands in respect of upgrading inspectorial activities. This was before any complaints had been raised. I had a general concern to try to tighten up inspectorial activities. In-house training of building inspectors has been extended to cover non-structural as well as structural aspects. Training seminars have been arranged recently with the cooperation of manufacturers to improve the inspectors' understanding of manufacturers' recommendations with regard to the installation of materials. In particular, I note Wormald International on fire-rated materials and James Hardie on the installation of water-resistant plastic boards as well as other Hardie products. The focus of the inspection checklist currently being used by the building inspectors is being expanded to encompass non-structural aspects, including weather-proofing which was not included. A building inspector has been given the task of carrying out spot checks of building sites to ensure satisfactory building practices are being observed. That is effectively a flying squad to avoid the allegations of somebody carrying out an inspection and the work being later removed and replaced with below-standard materials. Home ownership guides have been improved and we are pressing the building inspectors not just to carry out a specific inspection but rather to carry out a global inspection at each stage, checking the building as a whole. There has been a tendency for inspectors to look at a particular aspect, such as the reinforcing of the pads or the insertion of bolts, leaving open the possibility that work would later be left undone. We now have follow-ups and a more global approach at each stage of the inspections. We also have a submission before us to upgrade the qualifications of building inspectors to the nationally-accepted standard. Mr SMITH (Millner): Mr Speaker, we have definitely been here before on this particular matter. Unfortunately, we do not seem to have made much progress. It is interesting that, in the Northern Territory, we license electrical workers and contractors, and plumbers and drainers. In other words, we license the people who put the power on and we license the people who put the water on but, for some strange reason that I do not understand, we 2229

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