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New Chair for Australian Building Codes Board

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The Australian Building Codes Board has appointed former New South Wales Premier John Fahey AC as the new Chair of the ABCB. Mr Fahey replaces out-going Chair, Professor John Thwaites, who is currently Co-Chair of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce and Chair of the Monash Sustainability Institute.

In a Q&A for the board’s newsletter, ABCB Connect, Mr Fahey said that what attracted him to the role was “the collegiate nature of the Board.”

“To succeed, the industry representatives, public servants, and appointed Ministers must find common ground that incorporates safety, affordability, and accessibility to product.”

He said his many roles, including previously being Chair of the Commonwealth Natural Disaster Reconstruction Inspectorate, gives him a reason to believe he can assist with uniformity and national solutions in the building sector. Among the emerging issues the board is facing, Mr Fahey identified improved compliance and enforcement practices in particular, following the report from Professor Shergold and Ms Bronwyn Weir to the Building Ministers' Forum [BMF].

Among the emerging issues the board is facing, Mr Fahey identified improved compliance and enforcement practices in particular. 

Professor Shergold and Ms Weir made an initial report to the Building Ministers Forum meeting on October 6, 2017 on their current progress on the Assessment of the Effectiveness of Compliance and Enforcement Systems for Building and Construction Industry across Australia.

They are due to further report to the BMF before the end of 2017.

“The reform [that results from the Shergold and Weir Inquiry] must reduce significantly red tape and have an over-riding focus of industry affordability,” Mr Fahey said. “A firm but fair national solution to the Aluminium Composite Panel external cladding problem must also be implemented in the interests of public safety.”

Prior to entering NSW Parliament as the Member for Camden in 1984, Mr Fahey worked in legal practice in Sydney. He was Industrial Relations Minister from 1988 and instigated the Giles Royal Commission into the NSW Building Industry in 1990.

When the problem seems insoluble, don’t make a decision for the sake of making a decision. Go to bed and sleep on it," said Fahey.  

From 1992 until 1995 he was State Premier and Treasurer. He then served in Federal Parliament as Member for Macarthur and Finance Minister from 1996 until 2001. Currently, Mr Fahey is the Chancellor of Australian Catholic University.

He told ABCB Connect the best piece of advice he had been given during his career was: “When the problem seems insoluble, don’t make a decision for the sake of making a decision. Go to bed and sleep on it. It will amaze you how often the way forward is clear the next morning.”

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