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Monday, 26 November 1973
Page: 3860

Mr MATHEWS (Casey) - The House has welcomed the efforts which are being made by my colleague the Minister for Housing (Mr Les Johnson) to reduce the cost of building homes by negotiating a uniform national code of building regulations. The House has similarly welcomed the efforts being made by the Minister to bring down the cost of housing by fostering additional research and development work in the building field. An area of housing activity which so far has escaped the attention of the Minister is the acceptance of responsibility by other authorities associated with housing in the matter of the preparation of building sites. Home builders can find themselves involved in very heavy costs if local government is not prepared to accept proper responsibility for the land which it agrees to see subdivided, if solicitors are not prepared to accept proper responsibility for the residential land in which they are involved through the conveyancing process and if building firms enter into contracts to erect homes on sites which are not suitable for the purpose.

I am encouraged to draw this matter to the attention of the House because of the experience of a couple in my own electorate who, 4 months after the date of commencement of the construction of their home, find themselves with a bill for $2,800 for which they have so far to show IS concrete piers. I quote from a letter which was sent to me by this couple. It states:

On the 12th July a bulldozer attempted to excavate the site to prepare for the concrete slab foundation, this was unsuccessful and a letter was sent to us by the builder requesting access to the site and for the site to be drained, this was done immediately at a cost to us of $680. Another attempt was made, again unsuccessful. So a consultation with the builders and

Lilydale Council resulted in a decision to redesign the slab on a pier and beam foundation. A quote was requested it came to a total of $1,200 made up of $525 for the piers $480 for additional concrete and the rest made up of $134 engineers drawings and the rest for additional steel and form work. We sought the extra from the Commonwealth Bank which was granted, the piers were done and a letter from the builder arrived saying the piers were $1116.72 a difference of $591.72. The council then demanded the site be filled to a deph of 18 inches with 6 feet around the house. The fill was arranged, again at cost to us however the builders were at a loss as to which machinery could be used to spread the fill a drot was arranged and this got bogged, another bill for $153.

So the story goes on. I want to put it to the House tonight that all these additional expenses in which this couple found themselves involved, in which many other couple previously have found themselves involved and in which many other couples will find themselves involved in time to come, could have been avoided if at each stage of the process of this land becoming available for housing use more responsibility had been accepted by the authorities concerned.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! It being 1 1 o'clock, the House stands adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

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