ARARAT - Ararat Rural City Council is encouraging builders, plumbers, architects and other tradespeople involved in the building industry to learn more about proposed reforms to the Building Commission and have their say before the legislation is introduced to Parliament.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy announced in November that the government would seek to reform the commission to 'meet the 21st century needs of consumers and industry participants' after a Victoria Auditor-General's report made several recommendations last year.
Mr Guy said that under the reforms, a new authority called the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) would be established as the single over-arching body responsible for setting and enforcing building industry regulation following an extensive review of the existing structures.
Under the proposed changes, the functions of the Building Commission, the Plumbing Industry Commission and the Architects' Registration Board would be absorbed into the proposed VBA, which would provide a single point of governance for builders, plumbers and architects.
Council CEO Andrew Evans said it was important for local businesses working in the building industry to educate themselves about the proposed reforms and have their say when the State Government called for submissions on the legislation before it was introduced to Parliament later this year.
Mr Evans said other reforms included a new Compliance and Reform Policy and new Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to oversee and improve the performance of the Victorian building permit system.
"These two policy reforms in particular will affect local tradespeople so it is important for them to know what they will mean for their day-to-day business," he said.
In a press release issued in November, Mr Guy said the reforms were designed to deliver consistency in outcomes for consumers, focus on dispute prevention, improve regulation enforcement, and raise safety, technical standards and practitioner capability.
"The establishment of the VBA in conjunction with these other reforms are a critical step in ensuring the ad-hoc approach to industry regulation over the past decade is brought to an end," he said.
"The current system does not promote consistent service capability and dents consumer confidence and respect for the industry. The building industry and those who work in it are important to Victoria's economic health - which makes these reforms critical.
"The reform package is designed to ensure building industry practitioners have a system which enables them to deliver services consistently and professionally, while consumers have confidence they will receive the services they have been promised."
Mr Guy said the government would consult the industry on the proposed changes before legislation was introduced to Parliament later this year. The proposed changes would also incorporate outcomes from consultation conducted in 2012 on reforms to Victoria's domestic building consumer protection framework.
Reforms that are already underway and existing operations will continue under the guidance of the Building Commission until the new arrangements are in place.
For more information about the reforms, phone the Council's Building Department on 5355 0200 or visit www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning.