The Housing Industry Association has renewed its attack on the Barnett Government's bungled Building Act, telling its members in the construction industry that the law is "the most dysfunctional piece of legislation ever introduced into the WA home building industry".
The letter, sent after Commerce Minister Simon O'Brien made emergency changes to the Act in response to industry complaints that the new laws had introduced extraordinarily delays into the approvals system, was released by the Opposition yesterday.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the Government was warned during parliamentary debate that the Act, which came into effect on April 2, would not work because it contained too many uncertainties and neither the industry nor local councils were prepared for the changes.
Mr O'Brien signed a temporary ministerial order last week intended to clear blockages in the building approvals system and get construction moving while changes to the Act could be legislated.
The order lets builders start work on buildings after they have lodged paperwork with councils before the paperwork has been approved. Builders must still meet all standards and accept that they have to stop work or fix any problems that councils identify.
However, the HIA letter says the changes do not fix the problems, will not unblock the system and will not "resolve the industry grinding to a halt".
HIA executive director John Dastlik, who met Mr O'Brien and industry and local government representatives on Monday, said yesterday he stood by the letter.
Mr O'Brien said last week's changes were steps that could be taken quickly and he acknowledged more work needed to be done.
"For any complex problem there is no simple answer and I am continuing to work with my ministerial colleagues and with industry groups to find both quick fixes and longer-term solutions to this decline (of approvals)," he said."Once appropriate amendments have been drafted, we will give the highest priority to getting this legislation through Parliament."
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