A Shorten Labor Government will re-regulate the building industry to reduce risks to public safety and prevent non-compliance.
Thirty years of deregulation in the building industry have failed to protect public safety. Australians continue to see the importation of asbestos, the installation of non-compliant fire sprinkler systems, and buildings constructed with non-compliant flammable cladding.
Fires in high-rise buildings in Melbourne’s Docklands, London’s Grenfell Tower fire, and more recently Neo200 tower on Spencer Street, Melbourne, are stark reminders of the dangers of using non-compliant materials in construction.
And, the cracks in Sydney’s Opal building show that it is not only in disastrous fires that privatisation and deregulation have failed consumers.
The Liberals only have one strategy to deal with building fire safety and regulation – hope.
All the Liberals have done is to blame the states and issue media releases saying “trust us”, while dismissing a ban on flammable cladding as “impractical and impossible”.
The Liberals have completely abdicated responsibility for public safety.
A Shorten Labor Government will better protect Australians in their homes and workplaces by:
· Establishing a national licencing scheme for all building practitioners, with requirements for continued professional development.
· Introducing a new penalties regime for practitioners who breach the National Construction Code.
· Banning the importation, future sale and use of flammable cladding with a polyethylene (PE) core.
· Re-establishment of the Minister for Industry – not the Assistant Minister – as Chair of the Building Ministers’ Forum.
The regulatory and enforcement regime is broken, and national action is required to restore compliance with the National Construction Code and toughen up penalties.
A Shorten Labor Government will work with state and territory governments to design a national licencing scheme for building practitioners. This would include installers, fire protection practitioners, certifiers and surveyors – many of whom are not currently subject to formal licencing or inspection.
By establishing a national licencing regime, separate to the Federal Safety Commissioner’s existing role, we will restore integrity to a fragmented system that is spread over a mishmash of eight jurisdictions and 19 regulators, all of which have different requirements and standards for building practitioners.
As part of the national licencing scheme negotiations, Labor will also develop and implement a more efficient and consistent penalties process, with stronger sanctions for breaches of the National Construction Code. Compliance with building regulations must be enforced in order to restore accountability to the industry.
We will pay for it by making multinationals pay their fair share of tax and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.