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Victoria's giant 'legalised building fraud' and the Victorian Building Action Group

A couple of days ago, when I was driving from Melbourne to Brisbane and the only radio I could get was the Jon Faine Show on 774, I heard Jon on the subject of the Dan Andrews Victorian Government's intention to subsidise recladding of unsafely clad buildings in Victoria by the sum of $AUD200m, half of which was to come from taxes on the public and the other half sought from the federal government - but not from the perpetrators themselves. Jon put to a woman he was interviewing that she might give some acknowledgement to the Dan Andrews Government that this was a positive act. I was really impressed by the woman's response, which put Victoria's continuing building fraud and the government's facilitation of it in proportion and Jon Faine in his place at the same time. With interest I scribbled down the name of the organisation she represented and looked it up when I got to Brisbane. It is the Victorian Building Action Group Inc (https://www.vbag.org.au/) and it describes itself as "the only consumer organization in Australia representing the interests of all building consumers." Anne Paten is the President of the Victorian Building Action Group Inc.

Image from https://bostonreview.net/literature-culture-arts-society/john-crowley-inside-every-utopia-dystopia

"Consumers who attempt to build, extend, renovate or do repairs are totally unprotected and we can prove that this has been the case for the last 23 years. Many independent inquiries have confirmed this fact, but no government will listen or act to stop what is essentially 'legalized' building fraud. Just read some of the stories of those whose lives have been ruined, then come join us and be a part of bringing genuine change. The stories of those affected are heart-wrenching. It is virtually impossible to claim on the mandatory insurance and the various levels of the dispute system are utterly dysfunctional. The financial toll often mounts into hundred of thousands of dollars and the emotional toll is incalculable. No-one deserves to be bankrupt or suicidal because they try to build a home for their family." (The Victorian Building Action Group Inc (https://www.vbag.org.au/.))

VCAT process exposed

Here is an animated critique of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on the question of dealing with building fraud, described as follows at https://www.vbag.org.au/victorian-civil-administrative-appeals-tribunal/: Find out about VCAT: How it really works; Why building owners are bound to ‘LOSE’ and the role of solicitors in ensuring they do!’ In fact the video was created in 2012, but the process has become even worse since then.

Construction chaos and corruption Australia-wide

In reality, the situation is Australia-wide. Elsewhere, in the national corporate press, I read that the "Building Sector 'could collapse'. (Richard Ferguson, Brad Norington, "Building sector 'could collapse', The Australian, July 16, 2019, p.1.)

"Mr Massey [JMG Building Surveyors] said certifiers were concerned that state governments were responding to skyrocketing insurance premiums with legislation to allow policy exclusions in the mistaken belief 'this will somehow make the problem disappear'." [...] The JMG chief's warning comes as a proposal by Industry Minister Karen Andrews yesterday for a national taskforce to formulate a nationally consistent approach to building regulations was immeditely rejected by state governments ahead of a joint minister's meeting called to deal with the crisis on Thursday.

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Comments

1. FROM PROTECT FITZROY NORTH

If you can, go to the community meeting they are having on August 6 at 7pm Fitzroy Nth Library.
They are doing a great job trying to protect Fitzroy Nth:
Hello

We think Piedimonte's revised plans are ... STILL TOO BIG!

* Still 7 stories

* Still dominating and monopolising the village neighbourhood

* Still inconsistent with its surrounds

* Still losing 7 shops

* Still acquiring the laneway

* Still 66 apartments

* Still not enough car parking

Still concerned?

The only way our views will have any impact is to show Council and Piedimonte's the strength of the community's concerns.

This develop will proceed unless we make our views known now!

Come to the Community Meeting to:

· hear an overview of what the revised plans propose

· share your concerns

· discuss action we can take.

DATE: Tuesday 6 August 2019

TIME: 7 pm

WHERE: Fitzroy North Library

Looking forward to seeing you there.