Building Bill 2010 - Second Reading

Extract from Hansard
[COUNCIL — Wednesday, 22 June 2011]
Hon Simon O'Brien; Hon Lynn MacLaren


Second Reading


The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Hon Michael Mischin) in the chair, Hon Simon O’Brien (Minister for
Commerce) in charge of the bill.

Clause 1: Short title —

Hon LYNN MacLAREN: The minister has just finished talking about the availability of qualified surveyors.
The information I have is that there are only 200 building surveyors in Western Australia. There is a concern
about the shortage of building surveyors. Has the minister done any workforce planning, or has he started talking
with the local colleges of technical and further education about how building surveyors can achieve the
necessary qualification? My information is that building surveyors will need to either go over east or study via
distance education, What workforce planning has been done for that?

Hon SIMON O’BRIEN: I thank the member for her interest in this matter, and other members as well. Insofar
as this directly touches upon this bill, yes, I assure the member that the Building Commission division of the
Department of Commerce is mindful of this matter. But, more than that, some time ago, money was allocated to
TAFE, I think in the amount of $50 000, to assist in, as the member put it—I am using a generalised term here—
workforce planning. I understand that about 250 surveyors have been registered, both existing and former, and
there are more in the pipeline. The reason I mention that—because we did not create them, but we are
encouraging this career path—is that now that we have a better handle on what the workforce capacity is, one of
the side benefits of this process will be to assist in that planning process. I do not intend to spend any more time
on that. I hope that meets the member’s needs at this time.

Hon LYNN MacLAREN: My second question regards the cost–benefit analysis that Treasury undertook. The
other concern we have is about the impact on local governments’ revenue, because this is a fee that is normally
charged by local governments and therefore could be in their budget cycle for this coming year. The minister
mentioned that the cost–benefit analysis that Treasury undertook looked at businesses, but I did not hear him say
that it looked at the impact on local government.

Hon SIMON O’BRIEN: My apologies for that oversight. The Building Bill proposals that the member has
before her have been subject to an ongoing scrutiny of cost and benefit, not least by the local government lobby.
I think I have indicated through all the various forums—many of them are still up and running and will
continue—that there is an ongoing scrutiny of cost, amongst other things, because this is a fundamental change
to the way in which things will work and connect together. The government believes that it will be better, and we
have worked with all the stakeholders. I think the member knows from her own experience, as I do from mine as
a private member, that local governments are particularly sensitive to this. However, local government is
actively involved with this legislation and working with the forums to say, “Okay, this is the way we’ve got to
go; let’s make it work”.

I can tell the member that ACIL Tasman prepared a report on local government costs in 2006, further cost
information was obtained from local governments in 2010, and comparisons were made of fees against potential
savings from reduced delays. Importantly, however, different local governments will be doing different things
depending on their structures. Big local governments—the Stirlings, Armadales and others—will have a different
business or operational model, if you like, from those of the Town of East Fremantle and other places. That is
part of the whole point of this legislation—that we have that flexibility built in—and we think it will create a
better dynamic in the future.

Clause put and passed.