The NSW Labor Opposition has criticised the Liberal State Government for failing to give the man it has charged with fixing the building crisis in NSW enough resources or powers to do the job.

NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler admitted to a Parliamentary committee investigating the building industry that he has no extra resources despite saying there are thousands of buildings at risk.

Instead Mr Chandler, who is being paid up to $475,000 a year, will have to rely upon the Government’s existing resources time and time again to fix this crisis – resources and powers that have so far failed NSW residents.

Labor has been pressing the State Government to establish a Building Commission to help him in this crucial task. Despite the Liberals announcing in February that a Commissioner would be appointed, there was no money for that Commissioner in the June State Budget.

The Government and Mr Chandler have categorically stated that an independent Building Commission is not required.

Mr Chandler admitted that he had up to five staff to support him but no extra powers or inspectors on the ground to check crucial building defects.

Mr Chandler also told the committee:

  • That he has a “work plan” that would be “socialised” internally;
  • That he disagreed with the Lambert Report, the landmark report into the building industry that was delivered to government in 2015, which recommended a separate commission;
  • That the existing resources from the Department of Customer Service, which includes Fair Trading, should be sufficient to do the job (despite the committee acknowledging the inadequacy of the Department);

Labor’s Shadow Minister for Better Regulation Yasmin Catley said the Liberal Government’s solution was failing homeowners.

“It took the Berejiklian Government months to finally appoint a Commissioner but there is little point in having a cop on the beat if they have no resources or extra powers.

“The Premier and her hapless Minister – who refused to front the committee – are dragging their heels on this issue but homeowners can’t wait. They want action not a plan for a plan.”

“Labor has long been saying we need an independent Building Commission and beefed up regulatory powers to restore consumer confidence.

“We’ve had dozens of discussion papers and 6 ministers in 8 years. The Premier needs to provide leadership and clean up this mess.”