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Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Page: 1303

Senator MILNE (3:54 PM) —I move:

(1)   That the Senate notes:

(a)   the housing affordability crisis in Australia and the need for a national affordable housing agreement;

(b)   the need to upgrade Australia’s building stock and strengthen building regulations to increase the energy efficiency of existing and new buildings, both residential and commercial;

(c)   the central role played by the Housing Industry Association in developing government policy;

(d)   the relationship between housing affordability and mandatory privatised last resort builders warranty insurance particularly, the increasing number of complaints from builders and consumers concerning the failure of the last resort warranty insurance regime to provide consumer or builder protection; and

(e)   the decision in March 2002 to remove all Commonwealth and state regulatory controls over last resort warranty insurance.

(2)   That the following matter be referred to the Economics Committee for inquiry and report by May 2008:

Australia’s mandatory Last Resort Home Warranty Insurance scheme, including:

(a)   the appropriateness and effectiveness of the current mandatory privatised Last Resort Builders Warranty Insurance scheme in providing appropriate consumer protection and industry management;

(b)   the reasons for and consequences of the ministerial decisions relating to the removal of consumer protection provisions in respect of Corporations Regulation 7.1.12(2);

(c)   the ramifications for the future supply of this insurance product following the draft recommendations from the Productivity Commission report released in December 2007;

(d)   any potential reforms and their costs and benefits which may lead to appropriate consumer and builder protection and improved housing affordability; and

(e)   any related matters.

Question agreed to.