By Sonya Kilkenny
Victorian Minister for Planning
Owning your own home is the great Australian dream – maybe even more so for families who have chosen to call Australia home after fleeing or migrating from countries where giving your family a better life may not have been possible.
It was devastating for Victorian families to see that dream evaporate following the collapse of several large home builders earlier this year, including Porter Davis, Chatham Homes, Snowdon Developments and Hallbury Homes.
It exposed some dodgy practices in the building industry, including companies not taking out the required insurance before accepting deposits under a Major Domestic Building Contract.
The Allan Labor Government stepped in to help Porter Davis customers with compensation for those who were left without insurance cover for their lost deposits.
Since then, we’ve also set up the Liquidated Builders Customer Support Payment Scheme for customers of other builders whose businesses collapsed.
This sort of behavior in the building industry is not acceptable. It’s why we’re reforming our building system to better protect Victorians’ hard-earned savings and their dream of building or renovating their own home.
We’ve introduced new laws to Parliament that will ensure Victorians are covered by insurance before providing any money to a builder under a contract for domestic building work costing more than $16,000.
If a builder doesn’t take out the required insurance, they will face individual fines of up to $96,000 and $480,000 for companies.
Also under the laws, the Victorian Building Authority will be given extensive powers to take disciplinary action against these builders, including immediate suspension of their registration.
We’re sending a strong message to the building industry to deliver on insurance requirements and giving homeowners greater confidence.
Because when you sign a contract to build your dream home, you should feel confident that you will get what you pay for.
No one’s hard work and years of saving should end in lost money and broken dreams because their builder did the wrong thing.
These new offences are the first in our plan to better protect Victorians building or renovating their home.
The Allan Labor Government is taking more steps to deliver greater accountability, strengthen compliance and enforcement and improve insurance coverage in the home building sector.
We are also consulting with the building industry and consumer groups on how we can better protect Victorian homeowners as part of a review of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995.
We expect further building reforms to come out of this review that will provide clarity for industry and stronger protections for people who are building or renovating their home.
We’ve engaged an Expert Panel to review Victoria’s building system. And we’ve already delivered on some of their early recommendations.
But there is more to do.
Victorian families rightly expect their homes to be built to approved standards and built to last.
And the Allan Labor Government is making sure that happens.
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