House debates

Monday, 26 October 2020


Building and Construction Industry

7:56 pm

Photo of Bert Van ManenBert Van Manen (Forde, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

There is no doubt that buying or even building your first home, or any home for that matter, can be a challenging but rewarding experience. For many Australians the process is relatively simple and trouble-free. After all, houses are built every day in this country. But, sadly, for one couple in the electorate of Forde, the process was not so simple and not so trouble-free.

I wish to bring to the attention of the House the plight of Nina and Wayne Austin, who built their first home in Holmview through builder Homecorp. It's where Nina and Wayne had planned to raise their two young kids and build a future for their family. Their home was built in June last year and they moved in shortly after, but, unbeknownst to them, the house was built incorrectly by Homecorp after the garage was built on the wrong side of the property. It was not until construction began on the neighbouring property earlier this year that the builders' mistakes were revealed. Building the garage on the wrong side of the property caused the two properties to be built so closely there was only a 2mm gap between the gutters. Since this was discovered they have found a range of other faults throughout the property, and, as a result of that, they have sought to have these matters rectified. Despite the numerous errors and mistakes identified since the issues were first raised, neither the builder nor the certifier, who originally approved Nina and Wayne's home, have admitted fault or taken action to resolve these matters.

In this instance their actions, or lack thereof, are disgraceful, especially at a time when so many Australians are hurting already. The Austins have sought assistance from every level of government and, disappointingly, while the planning and building regulations are largely the responsibility of state government and local council, in particular the state Minister for Housing and Public Works, Mick de Brenni, they haven't lifted a finger to help the Austins at all. This issue has dealt a devastating blow to the Austins financially, and more importantly, mentally. They have two young children—a six-year-old boy with special needs and a three-year-old girl—and they are on a single income, with Nina caring for the kids and her husband, Wayne, trying to make ends meet.

They've worked hard to achieve the Australian dream of owning their own home, starting a family and building a future together. They now face an uncertain future and are in limbo due to the actions of the builder and the certifier unwilling to right past wrongs. All the Austins had hoped for and dreamed of was their own home and a backyard where they could raise their young family. Sadly, these dreams have been dashed by Homecorp and the building certifiers. I call on these companies to rectify the issues that they have caused and to help the Austins in this very difficult situation.

House adjourned at 20:00