The ACT government is yet to act on the vast majority of recommendations for building regulatory reform, more than two years after then-minister Mick Gentleman pledged to act on systemic problems.
In Assembly annual report hearings on Wednesday, senior government officials revealed the government was yet to act on 30 recommendations from a report on building quality and regulation released in June 2016.
The 2016 report was just the latest in a string of such reports dating back to at least 2010 where systemic failings in the ACT's building regulation system were identified, but concerns remain about the government's failure to act on many issues.
Many of those concerned about building quality have told an Assembly inquiry of various horror stories, and groups including the Owners Corporation Network and Master Builders have repeatedly raised concerns with the government.
In recent months, the territory set up a new regulatory team, which has to date issued one rectification notice in its first four months of operation, as well as reduce a backlog of building complaints.
At the time of releasing the report, Mr Gentleman had promised the government would implement all 43 recommendations by the end of 2018, but witnesses at the hearings on Wednesday said the work was unlikely to be completed until at least 2019-20.
In the recent ministerial re-shuffle, Mr Gentleman's responsibility for building regulations were transferred to Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay, with building complaints handled by Access Canberra and related issues handled by the planning directorate.
After questions from Opposition housing minister Mark Parton about the progress made, planning director-general Ben Ponton told the committee the government had also only identified 15 recommendations it expected to complete in 2018-19.
He said implementation of the 2016 report was delayed as the government found recruiting suitably qualified staff a challenge, and all of 2017-18 was spent recruiting staff, and now the directorate was working its way through the most important 15 recommendations.
Mr Ponton said once the government had implemented the first 15 recommendations, it would then turn its attention to the remainder next financial year, in 2019-20.
Mr Parton asked if Mr Gentleman's original announcement had been somewhat ambitious, to which Mr Ponton reiterated the challenges the government had faced recruiting staff.
Asked whether it would be completed in 2019, 2020 or 2021, Mr Ponton referred the question to building policy manager Vanessa Morris, who said she expected all recommendations would be implemented in 2019-20.
Ms Morris said the delays had also been caused by a number of national reforms including the federal government's inquiry into the security of payment issues, and that as the territory was looking at similar issues, its own work was postponed until the federal work was completed.
The final report of the federal government's inquiry into the security of payments in the building industry was released in May, and it is unclear what progress the ACT government has made on the 2016 report since.
Mr Morris also said the government had already completed 13 recommendations and partially completed one more, and delays were also partly due to the links between different issues, such as codes of practice and training programs, and a need to address all issues together.
A progress report on the 2016 report recommendations from June this year showed that at that time, the government had not completed 31 recommendations, ranging from putting in place standard terms in building contracts to guidelines for minimum standard design documentation for developments.
Most of the 13 recommendations the government has completed related to technical changes in reforms to building laws around qualifications and occupational discipline passed by the Assembly in August 2016.
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