New product safety laws in Queensland

The Queensland government is cracking down on suppliers of flammable cladding and unsafe building products, as part of new laws that expand the powers of the QBCC.
It seems that public concerns about building safety in the wake of the Grenfell fire tragedy haven’t fallen on deaf ears in Queensland.
The state government will crack down on suppliers of unsafe building products and flammable cladding, as part of new laws that were introduced last month.
This legislation expands the power of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) – allowing it to withhold building licences to contractors who don’t meet safety standards for a variety of reasons (including causing death or grievous bodily harm).
The bill also requires information to be shared between the QBCC, WorkSafe and the Electrical Safety Office, to stop preventable tragedies. One such case was the electrocution of a 20-year-old man in 2012, which could have been averted if the regulator had passed on critical safety information at its disposal.
Legislation will target designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers of building products, as well as people who install the goods. This will create a chain of responsibility that requires each person to make sure their product conforms with safety standards before sharing suitability information with relevant parties.
There will be strict penalties for those who breach the laws, including fines up to $120 000 and the suspension or cancellation of a licence.
Expanded powers allow the QBCC to target all parties along the supply chain.
They will be able to:
– Enter and investigate places other than active building sites
– Remove samples for testing
– Publish information about building products
– Cancel or suspend licences for work health and safety offences
– Launch disciplinary action
– Issue product warning statements and recalls through the Minister
The state government is yet to confirm when the new laws will start. Master Builders Queensland welcomes the legislation, but say some elements need to be ironed out.
The peak body wants more direction around the risks that could result in cancelled or suspended licences and clearer advice on how information will be shared.
They also believe that legislation should apply to architects, building designers and engineers, who specify products.
Master Builders have put together this guide that shows contractors how to protect themselves.