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Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa has no real idea of why the building sector is in crisis, National’s Building and Construction spokesperson Andrew Bayly says.

Mr Bayly asked in Parliament’s Question Time today technical questions to Ms Salesa regarding Government construction procurement and whether construction costs would increase as a result of enforcing whole-of-life costing.

“Unfortunately, the only outcome of the emergency meeting Ms Salesa convened on Monday to address issues surrounding procurement was a statement that she would make sure Government agencies adhere to the procurement guidelines.

“But after being questioned in the House today about which Government agencies she was talking about and what procedures she will put in place to make sure they stick to the guidelines, she had no substantive answers.

“It is clear that the Minister is insufficiently aware of what those guidelines entail.

“What we have here is a Minister who can’t answer technical questions central to the procurement issue. She needs to know her stuff.

“Even more crucially, she also needs to recognise and deal with the underlying causes of the problems dogging the industry.

“Government procurement makes up around 18 per cent of the vertical construction sector.

“And while procurement is essential – and some agencies do it well, and some agencies don’t - it’s not the only pressing issue facing the construction industry.

“It is also suffering significant impact from increasing consenting costs and lack of skilled labour as well as problems with the rules around building product standards.

“The Minister needs to understand those underlying problems are even more critical than procurement.

“Her lack of knowledge around the crucial issues is the most disturbing aspect of this whole scenario.”

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