Review findings to strengthen building industry regulator

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement The Honourable Mick de Brenni

QBCC Commissioner Anissa Levy and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni

The Palaszczuk Government has taken immediate action to begin implementing a broad range of recommendations to improve support for Queensland tradies and consumers.

Minister for Public Works and Procurement Mick de Brenni said an independent review of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission’s (QBCC) governance framework had made 17 recommendations to help ensure the effective regulation of the Queensland building and construction industry.

“This independent review is a continuation of the Palaszczuk Government’s comprehensive suite of building industry reforms that have been introduced since 2017 to address significant emerging issues in the building industry,” said Mr de Brenni.

“Our reforms have significantly increased the compliance and enforcement activities of the regulator and its structure requires amendments to accommodate this.

“Overall, the review recognises the Commission’s regulatory role today is far broader than when the Palaszczuk Government took office in 2015.

“A lot has been achieved since then and this governance review – conducted by Jim Varghese AM – will help maintain this momentum.”

Lead reviewer Jim Varghese AM said he was inundated with strong views and suggestions for improvement throughout the four-month review.

“It is important to avoid politicisation of the QBCC and focus on implementing practical recommendations for change,” Mr Varghese said.

“It is critical to create and maintain the momentum for effective change and to address the gap between where we are now and where the QBCC aspires to be as an outcomes-focused statutory agency.”

Mr de Brenni said the intent of all recommendations were either supported or supported in principle, noting further detailed analysis is needed for some recommendations, before deciding the best approach to achieve the outcome sought.

An implementation group – comprising representatives from the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Energy and Public Works, Queensland Treasury and the QBCC – had already been established to effect changes spanning the QBCC’s structure, systems, capability, culture, processes and performance.

To ensure transparency and accountability of the reform process, the implementation group will regularly publish reports on the progress of the implementation.

“The recommendations will make the regulator more customer and outcomes-focused,” Mr de Brenni said.

“It will deliver structural and functional realignment and refocus the organisation on its licensing and compliance regulatory role.

“An important part of this transformation is establishing an independent, quarantined Mediation, Resolution and Review Unit within the regulator.

“This will improve the customer experience, reduce appeals and alleviate a perceived need to find other avenues to pursue issues and concerns.

“While the reforms are implemented, the regulator will continue to provide all consumer, licensing and regulatory functions.”

Mr de Brenni said a 90-day action plan, with a firm focus on implementation, had been drafted to demonstrate the government’s commitment to swift action.

“We are prioritising actions that improve transparency, impartiality, fairness and consistency in the regulator’s decision-making processes,” he said.

“The composition of the Board is also critical to the effective and efficient operation of the QBCC.

“With current Board appointments coming to an end, work has already begun to right-size the QBC Board to seven professionals with the skills and experience to deliver on the regulator’s charter.

“This also means closer consultation between the Board and industry.”

Mr de Brenni said Queensland’s $47 billion building industry is the state’s third-largest employer and third-largest contributor to the Queensland economy.

“Building or renovating a home is one of the biggest financial and emotional investments most Queenslanders will ever undertake.

“We want Queenslanders to build with confidence, which is why a strong, effective and independent regulator is so important.”

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