ACT cracks down on ‘dodgy building’ with new developer laws

The ACT’s Property Developers Bill will hold developers accountable for poor-quality residential work.

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Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction, Rebecca Vassarotti, detailed that the new Property Developers Act and adjustments to the territories’ “residential building work insurance settings” will “significantly improve” consumer protection and confidence alike in the residential building sector.

In the time since the bill’s introduction in November of last year, the ACT government drew upon feedback obtained through stakeholder discussions, and recommendations made by the Assembly committee inquiry in facilitating amendments that would improve the bill’s scheme.

Among these changes were the notable introduction of an “appropriate transition” period for developers to obtain a licence and prepare for the new scheme, and the exclusion of “approved aged care providers” in light of the “significant oversight” they already possess through Commonwealth legislation.

“Under these new laws, property developers will now need to apply for a licence before they can even lay a brick on any new developers in Canberra,” said Vassarotti.


“They will also be held personally liable if they don’t fix defects in homes they have built. This will keep developers accountable and remove any incentive for them to put pressure on builders, tradies or certifiers to undertake or sign off dodgy work.”

With the ramifications of dodgy development estimated by Vassarotti to have cost Canberra residents more than $50 million each year, the minister stated that the bill will “protect Canberrans when they make the most significant purchase of their life”.

“Way too often over recent years, high-profile cases of poor development have undermined the trust of Canberrans in the home building industry and defined the anxieties of an entire generation of home owners and renters alike.”

“(The bill) will give Canberrans greater control and confidence that the property developer has capability to deliver a quality product,” Vassarotti stated.

In further detailing the measures being implemented to protect Canberra residents within the home construction process, Vassarotti highlighted that the territory is also increasing the minimum residential building work insurance amount from $85,000 to $200,000 and the time limit to lodge a claim from 90 days to 180 days.

“When Canberrans buy or rent a home, they should be able to demand the best from those who built them,” the minister concluded.

This building-related reform also comes off the back of Vassarotti securing an agreement between Australia’s building ministers to act on net zero goals in commercial building.

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