Investigation Into Governance and Administration of Victorian Building Commission (06.02.2013)
Written on the 20 February 2013
I am pleased to rise to speak on the Victorian Ombudsman's Own Motion Investigation into the Governance and Administration of the Victorian Building Commission -- December 2012. I do so because this report has raised some very alarming aspects in relation to the Victorian Building Commission. I am very pleased that the Minister for Planning, Mr Guy, has taken steps towards restoring integrity to the process and is putting confidence back into the building industry. That is a great thing.
The report provides a devastating account of some very serious issues. In his executive summary the Ombudsman says:
In March 2012 my office received information from several sources in relation to concerns regarding the Victorian Building Commission ...
In relation to the registration of building practitioners there are a number of key issues. The investigation identified that the registration process for building practitioners was poorly administered and contained a number of gaps and integrity risks. There are a number of case studies in the report that highlight how appalling some of these situations were. One particular case study relates to an applicant who was identified as overstating his building experience and who submitted supporting documentation with his application containing fictitious building works. That is just one example.
The next area, governance and administration, makes extraordinary reading and is quite alarming. As the minister has said, quite rightly, it is just not good enough. The report says:
This investigation identified that:
The last area I will mention is recruitment, termination and contractors. Again the Ombudsman's investigation found some damning evidence. The report says:
This investigation identified:
consultants and contractors were engaged by the commission and paid up to $350 000 a year without competitive or open tender processes
year the Minister for Planning, Mr Guy, stated that they will be absorbed into a single entity for the governance of builders, plumbers and architects. The minister has moved to restore integrity to Victoria's building industry, and I commend him for his actions so far.
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