Community planning group Save Our Suburbs says the Auditor-General's recent report on building permits and his May 2008 report on town planning show conclusively that more transparent regulation across the development industry is long overdue.
The building report found that 96% of building permits examined did not comply with minimum statutory building and safety standards, due to confusion and inadequate practice, including a lack of transparency and accountability.
A similar situation was found for council planning three years ago – in 78% of cases examined, officer planning permit reports did not give adequate consideration to matters specified in the Act, the planning scheme or both.
"Since regulation of the development industry was privatised, we've seen increasing conflict of interest, lack of transparency, less enforcement, worse outcomes and more uncertainty", said Ian Wood, president of SOS.
"Private building surveyors being paid by the developers they are supposed to regulate is a potential conflict of interest just begging to be abused".
SOS believes that the current Victorian Government review of the planning system should take thE opportunity to improve regulation of the whole development industry.
"The Building Commission has always been known as a toothless tiger so its building permit and enforcement functions should be recombined with planning regulation under local government control", Mr Wood stated.
"Minister Guy says he wants to return more control to councils and this one major reform would make the land use system more democratic, transparent and accountable, as well as easier for councils to coordinate and enforce".
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
President, Save Our Suburbs
0424 104 274 firstname.lastname@example.org