Australian industry groups call on government to urgently reform construction sector

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-15 15:14:36|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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SYDNEY, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Five of Australia's largest industry bodies sent a letter to the federal government on Monday, calling for urgent reforms to be implemented in the country's construction sector.

According to the joint statement issued by the Master Builders Australia, the Australian Industry Group, the Insurance Council of Australia, the Property Council of Australia and the Australian Construction Industry Forum -- "patchy and inconsistent" construction rules across different states are creating a "crisis in the building supply chain."

With public confidence already low following the evacuation of three high rise towers in Sydney over the past year, due to structural faults believed to be caused by shoddy construction work, the industry has been under a microscope recently with insurers extremely wary of taking on liability.

At the forefront of the groups concerns is the hot topic issue of combustible cladding on high-rise developments.

"The continued inconsistency in the approach across government is manifesting in the crisis confronting building practitioners in the building supply chain," the joint statement said.

"This has led to significant increases in professional indemnity premiums, and a reduction in cover via exclusions on combustible cladding and non-conforming building products."

"Building surveyors, engineers and architects are now struggling to obtain the insurance they need to do their job, which could in turn seriously affect future building or construction activity."

With the construction sector contributing around 7.0 percent to the nation's GDP, the groups warned that "up to 30 percent of insurance renewals for building certifiers and surveyors may not be renewed this month," the joint statement said.

"The consequence will be building activity grinding to a halt, resulting in huge damage to our members' businesses and the economy."

"Consumers, building owners, building practitioners and their insurers need certainty and confidence in building regulation."

Also lobbying for a "national approach" to resolve the matter, Victorian State Planning Minister Richard Wynne said "we are well aware of building insurance concerns," he told News Corp.

"Nationwide action to give the building industry more certainty and bipartisanship to get rid of combustible cladding are my priorities for the next Minister's forum," he said.