Dametto: Housing crisis not the time for NCC changes

Hinchinbrook MP and KAP Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto

29 June 2023

The Victorian State Government has recently announced that it will delay the implementation of key provisions of the National Construction Code (NCC) citing ‘significant global economic challenges, including rising supply chain costs’ as the reason for doing so.

The updated NCC includes significant changes that will heavily burden construction projects. Already commenced from the 1st of May 2023 are measures around increased bushfire protection, wind loads for housing and waterproofing.

Standards due to commence in October 2023 include a wide range of measures including improved energy efficiency and electric vehicle charging. However, the most onerous and expensive measures due to come into force in October relate to liveable housing conditions which will require all new properties to be built to a standard that essentially provides full disability access. Requirements will include wider doorways and hallways, step free showers and front entrances and a toilet to be located on the ground floor.

Further changes in September 2025 will see plumbing products contain mandatory reduced levels of lead.

The Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) Executive Director Building Policy & Services, Simon Croft, said both the NCC 2022 liveable/accessible housing and increased energy efficiency standards are well intentioned but now was not the time to introduce these significant changes given current building industry challenges and broader economic challenges for homeowners.

“The building industry is seeking an extra 12 months out to October next year to adopt these major reforms, which would align Queensland with most other states including SA, Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria,” Mr Croft said.

“With the changes due to come into effect in 3 months, the industry is still waiting on updated software required to assess energy efficiency and the supporting framework for implementation of the liveable housing changes has yet to be finalised.

“Now is a perfect opportunity for the Queensland Government, in supporting the industry, in maintaining affordable supply of homes needed to address the housing crisis and allowing industry, and in turn homeowners, additional phase in period to prepare for these major building code amendments. “

HIA Executive Director North Queensland, Peter Fry, said that housing affordability continues to decline across all of Queensland as interest rates continue to rise.

“To undertake these changes now will add additional construction costs at a time when affordable homes is needed to assist in addressing the current housing crisis,” he said.

“Housing affordability poses a major challenge across North Queensland and requires all levels of government to identify policies that will support the supply-and-demand rebalance.  Single Detached home approvals for the 12-month period to April saw the Townsville NQ region down 21% on approvals over the previous year.

“The construction and energy efficiency changes required for the likes of the traditional Queenslander, a home commonly seen across North Queensland, will add costs and be particularly challenging for this style of construction.”

Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto has thrown his support behind the HIA saying it is neither the right time nor economic climate to be creating further challenges in the building industry.

“Building safer and more sustainable homes make sense, particularly with Queensland being susceptible to natural disasters, but the Queensland Government really needs to read the room here,” Mr Dametto said.

“Queensland’s building industry is suffering the same economic challenges as our Victorian counterparts and should attract the same prudent approach.

“We know that 143,000 Queenslanders require mobility aids to move around and I appreciate that certain modifications to homes are needed to accommodate those aides.

“However, given the large number of people living in tents and cars at the moment, I think people would prefer a slightly narrower hallway for a little while longer rather than no hallway or house at all.

“People are already struggling to afford to break into the housing market, with little Government assistance on offer, and forging ahead with increased measures and standards at this point will only burden new and potential homeowners even more.

“No harm can come from delaying the enforcement of these measures and I will be writing to the Minister urging the Government to consider following Victoria’s lead.

“Now is not the time to be making Queensland properties more expensive. Right now, the priority should be to simply give Queenslander’s a roof over their heads.”


Nick Dametto MP