Death to the MBA Fidelity Fund


Sir – Since the unexpected introduction of the MBA (last resort) fidelity fund the Builders Collective and its Territory members have been lobbying the Giles Government for its removal to be replaced with a fair and equitable system that will deliver both genuine across the board consumer protection and appropriate industry management.
The government has listened to our concerns, and Minister Dave Tollner has released information for builders to consider and comment on prior to its implementation.
We can expect the MBA to be extremely critical of this new system due to their robust defence of the fidelity fund in the past and their attempts to discredit whoever had an objection to its operation and the methods it applied.
We ask builders to consider the new system and comment on it as you see fit, and we would also appreciate it we are copied in on your thoughts, as unity is the key to a responsible and fair Territory building industry.
The Builders Collective will present builders’ considered views on the new system.
Phil Dwyer
Builders Collective of Australia


  1. I offer no comment on the issue of the fidelity fund, as CAL is not involved in the scheme.
    However, I agree with Phil that everyone involved in the Building and Construction industry needs to get across the report.
    I have only had the chance to briefly look at the arguments it puts forward to effectively abolish CAL but it is apparent the author has made no attempt to learn about what CAL is and how it operates.
    It overlooks CAL’s historical role as the industry self-regulator; is dismissive of the suggestion that the industry can operate a fair and equitable assessment process (despite our 20 years of doing so, without a legal dispute); claims our fees are in the order of $11,000 a year when the reality of their example is less than $800; and claims that CAL is more likely to accredit phoenixes than a government agency.
    This last point is particularly ironic given the Building Practitioners Board’s examples of registering contractors who CAL rejects. Randall Carey is the high profile example but there have been and continue to be others. The BPB’s current register includes at least three current phoenixes who have been rejected by CAL.
    It is also a concern that the report proposes to remove all protections from the Civil Construction sector.
    CAL agrees with the report that the current Residential Builders Registration arrangements are not working well. However we are not convinced that throwing out the proven scheme that covers the greater part of the industry is the best way to fix the problems faced by the minority sector.
    The industry’s offer to have CAL assist government with Builders Registration, first made in 2004, remains on the table.
    We only hope that the discussion will take account of reality, rather than the uninformed opinions expressed in key sections of this report.
    I hope to provide your readers with a more detailed response to the report when I’ve had the time for an in depth analysis.
    Stephen Ward
    Chief Executive

  2. If it’s anything like the review into the racing industry, the report will likely have been created to reach a pre-determined answer.

  3. I find it difficult to accept that your competitors should be allowed to dictate how much money my business can make over the next 12 years.
    I’ve never had a problem with attaining the cover I need, but I can see that it will be twisted when someone has a bone to pick.

  4. Mr Ward’s comments seem to be somewhat of a cop out, especially being that he is the CE and Secretary of CAL.
    Given his role, I would have expected that he would have covered off on all of the points in the report and provided a fact / evidence based responses to the Cureton Reviews findings.
    It should be known, that various members of the CAL Review Panel, have held and continue to hold a seat on the Building Practitioners Board. So for Mr Ward to suggest that this “proven scheme” works, is an absolute farce.
    The last thing government should consider, is to hand some or all of the licensing duties to an organisation whose website disclaims, “Contractor Accreditation Limited, its Servants and Agents, accept no responsibility for any loss or damage sustained by any person, firm or company arising out of reliance by them on the fact that a contractor has been accredited by CAL. Accreditation of a contractor by CAL does not constitute a guarantee as to the quality of workmanship, management of work or financial viability.”
    How on earth can these comments be taken with any merit when in particular, Mr Paul Nowland, a registered builder himself, holds a seat on the CAL Review Panel, the Building Practitioners Board, the Building Advisory Committee, the Master Builders Executive Committee and now has a job as the compliance auditor for the Master Builders Fidelity Fund and yet with all of this oversight, Randall Carey still snuck through under his nose and decimated families here in Alice Springs!
    CAL and the Fidelity Fund have proven to provide NO GUARANTEES, more red tape, more barriers to success and to quote the Cureton Review, “may add to the chances of a business becoming insolvent”.
    The last thing I want as a subby, is to see the builder I work for losing his CAL or MBA insurance because they have had a tough 12 months. Who are these people (my builders competitors in fact) to dictate who can and cannot build!
    Seven out of 11 applicants were knocked back last month, which will mean another seven builders potentially go broke now that they can’t trade.
    If our main builder gets cut off, he will go down overnight and so will we. Who will be at fault?

  5. No cop out, Mr Perry.
    I said that I’ve only had a brief opportunity to wade through a 260+ page report.
    My comment was to alert contractors to the need to get across the report; to highlight some immediately obvious glaring errors in it and to undertake to come back with a detailed response when I have had the opportunity to do so.
    It’s a bit unfair to target Mr Nowland, as he is one of over 45 assessment panel members and may have an opportunity to sit on two or three of our weekly panels a year.
    In the case of Carey, CAL rejected his application in 2000 and blew the whistle on him holding a builders registration as an undischarged bankrupt in 2009, when we learned he was operating in Alice Springs.
    Had the Building Practitioners Board involved us in their processes, he would not have gained registration in the first place. And he may well still be operating if we had not blown the whistle.
    CAL has been through several government reviews in the past decade and been found to be operating well on each occasion. However, industry myth and misunderstanding can suggest otherwise.
    I hope to be back in the Alice around the end of the month an will be happy to catch up for a chat if you like.

  6. @ Mr Ward: Have you read the review yet? One would think that you would make it a priority seeing as though your reputation, credibility, self justification and bloody livelihood is at stake.

  7. Still wading through it.
    There are so many errors and misperceptions that a fully detailed rebuttal will be longer than the report itself.
    Should have a printable response by mid-week.


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