In a development which underscores the extent of the chaos surrounding the building industry reform process in Victoria, the head of the new body created as the centrepiece of the reforms has quit after only nine weeks in the role.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Victorian Building Authority (VBA) chief commissioner Bill Kusznirczuk announced that the body’s chief executive officer Joe Dimasi has stepped down from his role and left the organisation.
Kusznirczuk said Dimassi – who prior to his brief tenure at the VBA spent around 17 years with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – stepped down for personal reasons. His departure comes less than three months after his appointment in late August and subsequent commencement in early September.
Dimassi’s resignation comes amid widespread anger within the industry surrounding an overhaul of construction industry regulations announced by the state government in May, the centrepiece of which revolved around the new VBA, which replaced the former Building Commission and Plumbing Industry Commission and which the government says now acts as a one-stop-shop for all building and plumbing practitioner regulation.
In August, Housing Industry Association executive director (Victoria) Gil King lashed out at the changes, saying they were introduced without consultation and imposed more compliance on builders without any benefits for consumers or the industry.
On the consumer side, meanwhile, a group of disaffected home owners rallied outside the VBA offices last month to voice their frustrations that the reforms failed to address underlying consumer concerns.
King said Dimassi’s sudden resignation reinforces concerns about surrounding the entire change process.
“We have described the transition from the Building Commission to the VBA as shambolic,” he said. “Nothing that has occurred around the latest news would give us any confidence to describe it any differently.”
“We would urge the Minster and the government to finally put this to rest and guarantee the industry some certainty and security.”
Dimassi has been replaced in the interim by Prue Digby, who was previously Deputy Secretary of Planning and Local Government at the state’s Department of Planning and Community Development and who has stepped down from her role as a board member of the VBA.
Digby will commence in her role as acting CEO on November 25.