The State of the Nation

Every State except Tasmania is undertaking a review of their consumer protection-warranty insurance regimes because of the constant critisism from consumers and the legitimate building industry associations however the one association being the Housing Industry Association (HIA) that has enjoyed the ear of Governments over the past decade considers the Last Resort Warranty Insurance concept they introduced back in 2002 that still manages our industry is appropriate today. HIA also enjoy the support of MBA Victoria.

VICTORIA: The Victorian building industry management is an absolute disgrace as we have now had three scathing Reports handed down by the Auditor General and the Ombudsman recently, and Government has been forced to act after some three years plus in power. They have disposed of the Building Commission in favour of the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) that we are concerned is only a rebrand. This is the Government that was so critical of the Labor introduced last Resort warranty insurance scheme in opposition but at this point it is to stay and QBE continue to deliver the product at a huge cost.

NSW: Worked in harmony with Victoria when HIA and Royal Sun Alliance concocted the current scheme and together they introduced it in July 2002. The NSW review has been going on for over two years without a resolution at this point but it is clear the LAST RESORT insurance will continue and be delivered by QBE at a huge cost but that is no longer acceptable.

SA: QBE have decided to withdraw from this market from 30th June but not before they increased the cost of premiums by 50% in March but will continue to provide the insurance on behalf of the Government for the next year for a massive fee. The Government have just announced a review.

WA: QBE have again caused concerns here, and will most likely withdraw as the have in SA but in the meantime have increased the premiums by 40%. The WA review has closed and we await the outcome that could see a dogs breakfast. The review is at this link

Queensland: This FIRST RESORT (Insurance as you know it) regime has just been through a review and HIA recommended to the Committee they adopt the Vic scheme, privatise the insurance, and some two months later Minister Guy in Victoria abolished the whole scheme citing a fresh start. The outcome has just been released and the assessment is best described by Brisbane’s leading construction lawyers. Suffice to suggest the main change will be the name to Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) and they further state and I quote: “It appears that the overall role of the QBCC will be similar to the BSA” and secondly “The Home Warranty Scheme – it will not be privatised” Common Sense has prevailed! Thank you Minister Mander.

NORTHERN TERRITORY: The previous labor Government have just implemented a LAST RESORT insurance scheme run by MBA and the same as they have in the ACT which is a Fidelity fund. This has the territory builders in uproar and our submission has been presented to Government and we await their response.

Conclusion: Queensland have demonstrated common sense and now that most of the MBA’s have adopted the principles of the Builders Collective as have all the other industry associations we are now a formidable voice for reform.

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