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Phoenix activity on notice

06 Nov 2019

Phoenix activity on notice Image

The state government has delivered greater protections for building and apartment owners under sweeping new changes introduced into parliament last month.

On October 29, the Building and Environment Protection Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 was passed giving stronger powers to the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) to investigate illegal phoenix activity, where companies deliberately go into administration to avoid liability for building work before re-emerging as a new entity.

The government said the bill strengthened the fit and proper person tests required for practitioner registration by incorporating financial probity requirements. “This will allow greater scrutiny of company directors, secretaries and influential persons as part of the registration process,” Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said.

“This bill is about giving Victorians more confidence in the building sector and helping the VBA to weed out those doing the wrong thing.”

“Plumbers and architects can face immediate suspension under these new laws, as well as not having their industry registration renewed.”

The VBA will be able to refuse applications for new registration, or renewal of registration, if the applicant is suspected to have engaged in illegal phoenix activity at any time over the previous two years.

The bill also expands existing suspension powers for building practitioners responsible for unsafe works to ensure that plumbers and architects can also face immediate suspension.

Mr Wynne said that while his government was doing all it could to stop illegal phoenix activity, the federal government needed to make changes to national company laws for it to “stamped out.”

“We’re taking action to help curb illegal phoenix activity and it’s about time our Commonwealth counterparts did the same,” he said.

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