Additional Comments by Senator Marshall
For most Australians, building a home is one of the biggest
financial commitments they are likely to make. Moreover, it is likely to be the
only substantial financial outlay that they are likely to make of this kind. It
is therefore no wonder that many Australians do not understand the complex
issues around building a home and what cover they are in fact receiving with
Home Warranty Insurance.
As we have seen following the collapse of HIH, most states
have moved to a last resort scheme of Home Warranty Insurance. This system does
not provide the level of cover implied in the provision of insurance nor the
level of cover home builders should expect. Last resort insurance has been
described as “junk insurance” by many commentators. Whilst the insurance
industry disputes this label, what they don’t dispute is that few would
purchase this insurance if it were not mandatory to do so.
On the whole I agree with the direction of the report and
its recommendations. However, of the four recommendations, I believe
recommendation two does not go far enough. I have been convinced over the
course of this inquiry that the committee should be recommending a nation-wide
adoption of a form of Home Warranty Insurance that reflects the form currently
in effect in Queensland.
It is my view that the Federal Government should take a
leadership role on this issue and progress a Home Warranty Insurance model
through COAG using the current Queensland model as a template.
It is proper that, though a comprehensive Home Warranty
Insurance model, the Government facilitates the provision of appropriate
protection and support for those Australians who make the commitment to build a
home. It is also important to recognise that builders contribute to the
residential infrastructure of our nation and that we have a responsibility to
ensure that protection is provided to all parties involved in home building.
Senator Gavin Marshall
Labor Senator for Victoria
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