As the housing crisis has worsened, Canberrans have increasingly felt pressure to accept lower standards from property developers to secure a place to call home. This is unacceptable.
Canberrans rightly expect that property developers in the ACT are regulated and held to a high standard which is why I am pleased to see that the ACT Government and Minister Vassarotti are taking concrete steps to legislate property developer licensing.
This announcement is the culmination of a grassroots campaign of ACT Labor members and the construction workers union, the CFMEU, who have led the calls for licensing in the ACT.
At the 2019 ACT Labor policy conference, delegates voted in support of a resolution calling on the ACT Government to introduce property developer licensing. This resolution called for a scheme that:
- requires developers to meet a “fit and proper person” test and apply to undertake higher-risk developments (such as apartment builds); and
- includes a stringent and rigorously enforced penalty scheme, up to and including barring developers from working in the ACT.
This policy was then taken by ACT Labor to the 2020 ACT election and supported by the community. In addition, a survey of Canberrans conducted in 2022 found that 77 per cent of Canberrans support a licensing scheme.
In May of this year, I moved a motion in the ACT Legislative Assembly calling for the urgent introduction of the scheme because I held a deep concern that the ACT Government was running out of time to legislate before the end of the parliamentary term.
With tri-partisan support, my motion was agreed to by the Assembly and a deadline for a bill’s introduction was set as the last sitting day of the calendar year.
I am pleased that the deadline set by my motion will be met this week.
I look forward to examining the detail of the bill and developing amendments, if required, to ensure that Canberra has the strongest regulatory regime possible.