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Australian Building Industry in trouble after home warranty insurance reform defeated in the Senate

Media Release
Christine Milne 10 Mar 2010

A Greens motion to address the looming crisis in the Australian building industry has been rejected in the Senate.

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said that the government and the opposition are on notice that their failure to address the mess in the building industry created by mandatory home builders warranty insurance will result in builders either going broke or building illegally by the middle of the year.

"Come June 30th 2010 the building industry, particularly in NSW and Victoria, will be in chaos. I cannot understand why the Rudd government and the Abbott opposition are so determined to adopt a position of studied ignorance on this issue."

"It seems that the Housing Industry Association is still calling the shots in Canberra. Tasmania abolished the mandatory requirement and the sky has not fallen in."

"Why won't the Federal government intervene with the states to ensure that we have uniform and consistent consumer protection and support for builders?"

"Every state, with the exception of Tasmania and Queensland, still has laws requiring builders to be covered by this "junk" insurance. With insurers withdrawing from the market, builders will be forced to work illegally, or not at all due to the demand for mandatory policies being unmet by the remaining insurers. "

"If the Greens motion that the Federal government intervene with the states as an interim measure to remove any mandatory requirement for the home builder's warrantee insurance product had been passed the immediate crisis would have been averted."

"It's disappointing that my call for immediate action has been rejected in the Senate. More so it is a missed opportunity to develop a national body charged with offering genuine protection to consumers and the building industry. The Queensland model works well. There is no need to reinvent the wheel"

"The current home builder's warranty insurance scheme has been dogged by persistent problems as well as being the subject of 56 inquiries and numerous failed interventions. And now builders everywhere except Tasmania and Queensland must face the possibility of unemployment or risk prosecution should they choose to work illegally."

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