The Queensland Government is targeting developers in its review of the building and construction industry’s regulatory framework in Queensland. Here, partner Kristy Dorney explains the background and purpose of the review and calls out to developers to contribute to the review.
Commitment to the review was made in July 2020. However, no steps were taken until late last year with the announcement of the four-person Developer Review Panel which will lead the review.
Conducted over the next nine months, the Panel is required to table its report by November 2022.
The purpose of the review includes identifying practices and behaviours of developers which may be contributing to non-payment and insolvency in the industry; including whether the financial and operating capacity of developers, business models and ethical behaviours have any impact. Further, the Panel will examine what influence and impact developers have on the quality and safety of design, construction, and certification of buildings and the incidence of defective works.
Who is considered a ‘developer’ remains to be seen and is earmarked as the first issue for the Panel.
During the industry review in 2020, fingers were pointed at developers as being one reason builders were not complying with the robust building and construction laws which already govern the industry as to safety and security for payment. These allegations are not supported by any case in point. It appears from the terms of reference the very point of the review is to determine whether the allegations can be substantiated. However, the messaging has been far from clear.
There were some early calls for developer licencing in Queensland and across other states of Australia. Then there was the indistinct statement of Minister for Public Works Mick de Brenni in November last year that the review was needed to “…ensure everyone who benefits from a booming building industry contributes their fair share”. We are hopeful the starting point of the review will be to examine the existing laws which govern construction work and contracts to determine whether gaps exist which could be plugged by defining who ‘developers’ are, how they could be regulated and, most importantly, to what end.
Over the coming weeks we expect the Panel will release a workplan identifying key milestones and associated timeframes for the review along with a plan to ensure engagement in the process by key stakeholders. Interestingly, other than through organisations or advocates representing developers, developers themselves are not identified as ‘key stakeholders’.
The Minister will appoint an industry reference group as a key forum of industry engagement for the Panel. We anticipate the Property Council of Australia (PCA) will be appointed to that group and is already active in forming its own reference group to provide input to the Panel.
Partner Kristy Dorney is contributing to the PCA subcommittee and welcomes discussion with stakeholders with a desire to contribute to the review and possible reform of laws governing developers. Private developers are particularly encouraged to contribute to the review process to ensure a balanced representation in what may lead to significant changes impacting their role and the cost of doing business in the industry.
Reach out to Kristy Dorney if you are interested in contributing to the review.