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 collapsing. Electricians in the Territory must be licensed, but did that prevent that problem? No, it did not. What we have are serious problems which arise from time to time, not just here but throughout Australia. The honourable member for Millner referred to the purchase of motor vehicles. The certificate of compliance that the purchaser receives does not guarantee anything other than that the basic safety requirements for that motor vehicle have been met. It does not guarantee that the upholstery has not been ripped or that the radio works. Another example was the plumbing in a house in Darwin. Plumbers are licensed already. Did that prevent the problem? It did not. What we have to do is examine the problem and ascertain practical and reasonable methods of addressing it. This government is doing that. Mr B. Collins: Tell us how. Mr FINCH: I will get to that. Mr Speaker, as I illustrated, there a number of matters to be considered here. Quite simply, it is the purchaser's right to opt for a less expensive, lower-quality product or an uncertain product, but the risk must be identified and made known to him. Matters that will affect quality control start with Building Branch procedures and proper specifications. If people want to pay for substandard documentation, then certainly they should be aware of what they are buying. People have the option of utilising the free services of the Building Branch through its inspection branch. In fact, the owners not only have the opportunity but the responsibility lies with them to call for regular inspections. These are laid down clearly in the guidelines that are given to people when they are considering building and certainly when they receive their permit. If they are not happy with the free services of the Building Branch, they are able to go to a private consultant. Most disputes relate to the contracts. Once again, the minister i-llustrated quite clearly that the Building Branch takes a very responsible attitude and tries to steer people into using standard contracts. People who take it upon themselves to alter the standard documentation, or not utilise it, certainly should be aware that they do so at their own risk. If a person proposes to spend $60 000 or $40 000 on a new house, one would assume that the least he should do is to take an interest in the requirements and suggestions that are available. We have heard examples of problems in regard to construction. What we have not heard is any practical suggestion as to how the problems might be resolved. Other states have builders' licensing systems, as was indicated by the member, but those systems have been found not to work. What is happening in New South Wales? The general public pays $11.5m per annum to prop up a bureaucratic system to administer the licensing not only of the builders but of excavators, demolishers, painters and decorators and miscellaneous tradesmen. All this has achieved is to set up a closed shop of tradesmen and builders. This occurred also in South Australia in early 1985. There was a very slight upturn in the building market there, but they were locked into licensing procedures. They did not have sufficient builders on the ground and they could not license them quickly enough. The result was an overnight 11% increase in building costs. After Cyclone Tracy, we did not have enough builders in Darwin. This inflated building costs by about 60%. Supply and demand is what it is all about. 2233