Changes to state housing legislation starts war on red tape
THE Newman government has set about simplifying red tape for home buyers and, from the looks of its public discussion papers on the subject, it has its work cut out.
The review of legalities associated with home buying coincides with what has been presented as a boost to home affordability, a change in the Bligh government requirement for new homes to include rainwater tanks and more expensive energy-efficient hot water systems.
Gympie MP David Gibson says the scrapping of the energy efficiency requirements would boost housing affordability by eliminating the compulsion for home buyers to pay for features they may not have wanted or been able to afford.
He said the changes would be effective as of now and were expected to cut the cost of a new home in the Gympie region by more than $5000.
The legal reviews essentially involve scrapping one law covering four areas into four separate and hopefully simpler ones, with the aim of making each one more accessible to the public.
But the process is not as simple as it looks.
"We're trying to unscramble a very complex omelette," Mr Gibson said yesterday.
The current Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act is proposed to be broken into the Property Occupations Bill, the Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers, the Commercial Agents Bill and the Agents Financial Administration Bill.
"It's important to remember that these are draft bills only and we want feedback from the public, including professionals like lawyers and real estate agents, to make sure they are what we are hoping for.
"I've got a letter going out to all real estate agents saying we want their input.
"What we have now is a backside covering exercise where people are given a warning statement with a form and then there is a form to fill in to show that they have been given a warning statement.
"We want to make it better without compromising people's rights.
"We will now have four bills, so they do not all have to cover the requirements of the other three.
"We have had a law that tried to be all things to all people and ended up being not very helpful.
"Consumers have been swamped with pages of paperwork in the buying process which meant many people just sign on the dotted line without reading the fine print.
"This has caused problems for buyers and, based on feedback, we have decided to make the process simpler in the interests of consumers and industry.
"The draft bills (released yesterday) also aim to reduce red tape and ease the regulatory burden.
"The current Act contains more than 23 licence and registration classes across seven industries."
Mr Gibson said the reforms were another example of the Government's campaign to reduce red tape by 20%.
"The commitment to split the PAMD Act was made before the election and has been welcomed by agents," he said.