On Thursday 30 November 2023 the Property Developers Bill 2023 (Bill) was tabled before the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly and referred to the Standing Committee on Planning, Transport, and City Services (Committee). Click here to access the Bill.

On Thursday 14 December 2023 the Committee decided to hold an inquiry into the Bill (Inquiry).

On Thursday 29 February 2024 Kerin Benson Lawyers made a submission to the Inquiry. Click here to access the Submission.

Our Submission inter alia made the obvious point that the establishment of a bureaucracy with officials having building industry expertise to administer the proposed Act and ensuring that it operated as intended was necessary for the successful operation of the proposed Act. In particular, reference was made to Part 6A of the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Act 2020 which commenced on 24 June 2022 and introduced the currently non-operational Residential Building Disputes Schemes (Scheme). While the Scheme aimed to provide mechanisms to assist the efficient resolution of residential building disputes, the Scheme is still not operational after two years. There are many potential reasons for this but a lack of qualified and experienced personnel in the ACT who are able to manage the Scheme could be a reason. The Submission also referred to the Professional Engineers Act 2023 which is still also not operational for likely similar reasons.

The above raises the question as to whether the establishment of a qualified bureaucracy to administer the proposed Act was possible in the ACT.

On Thursday 7 March 2024 Christopher Kerin appeared before the Committee of Inquiry (Appearance). Click here to watch the Appearance.

On Friday 5 April 2024 the Committee published their report on the Inquiry into the Property Developers Bill 2023 (Report). The Report contains two findings and seven recommendations. Recommendation three which recommends that administrative arrangements be made prior to the commencement of the Bill appears to be based on Kerin Benson Lawyer’s concerns regarding the ability to establish a bureaucracy to administer the Act. Click here to read the Report.

The Government’s response to the Report is due on Monday 5 August 2024.

While the Property Developers Bill 2023 is a controversial piece of legislation, the recommended pre-condition of the establishment of a bureaucracy to administer the proposed Act may well result in a significant, or even permanent, delay in the commencement of the proposed Act.