New building dispute system ‘relying on a miracle’

By Hannah Blackiston
New building dispute system ‘relying on a miracle’

A national body has come out against the new Victorian Domestic Building Dispute system, predicting the industry will suffer from the lack of support.

"The new Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) body will be the sole responsible authority for all domestic building disputes," said Gil King, executive director of the Housing Industry Association (HIA) in Victoria.

The HIA is concerned with how this new system, which is expected to commence around April/May this year, will be able to deal with disputes under the current funding structure.

An additional levy was introduced in 2002 to fund domestic building disputes, run jointly by the Victorian Building Authority, Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

It was clearly stated at the time that the levy was only to be used to fund the dispute process, with the Minister for Consumer Affairs and the Minister for Planning having joint responsibility for determining how the money is distributed.

"We are talking about a substantial amount of money here. Last year's Victorian Building Authority Annual Report showed that they retained $35.6 million in levy revenue with an additional $9.9 million paid to Consumer Affairs Victoria,” said Mr King.

The VBA Annual Report states that from the commencement of DBDRV the VBA will no longer be involved in the dispute resolution process.

"With the responsibility shifting to DBDRV for domestic building disputes, Victorians need to have confidence about this use of this levy," said Mr King.

"We have been told there will be no change in the current 50/50 split and this raises a number of questions. Why is the VBA retaining dispute levy money? How is the DBDRV going to do more with less levy income? It seems as if they are relying on some type of miracle."

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New building dispute system ‘relying on a miracle’
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