Data indicates Australia’s biggest-ever construction boom is slowly unwinding. Australian Bureau of Statistics shows approvals for new projects sank 17.2 percent in April. In fact building approvals have been on a decline since last August, with the once-booming apartment sector the biggest hit.
Westpac Bank said “new dwelling investment is expected to enter a decline from late this year, becoming a material drag on growth.” The Reserve Bank of Australia has been counting on continued strength in home building to offset a lingering drag from the end of a mining investment boom.
An update on something I mentioned last year – Thousands of homeowners across Australia remain at risk of electrocution or house fires due to faulty Infinity electrical cables installed in their homes. Infinity cable installed in NSW homes in 2010 could have already started cracking, with remaining states and territories – where it was installed from 2011 – in danger from next year.
A national recall began in August 2013 which is when we started reporting on the issue. Four years into the recall and only 54 per cent of the 4,313 km of dangerous cable has been found and fixed. For around $100 to $200, depending on the size of your home, an electrician can inspect the cabling and if Infinity cable is discovered, the cost of inspection will be covered by the cable supplier along with the full cost of remediation.
So if you have had electrical cables installed in your home between 2010 and 2013, the ACCC is urging you to get your home inspected by a licensed electrician. But a word of warning – do not attempt to inspect the cabling yourself. Meanwhile – on the same story – there has been outrage expressed as the director of a company which imported these dangerous and non-complying electric cables that went into more than 20,000 homes and businesses across the nation, was left with what many consider to be an inadequate penalty.
The sole Director of Infinity Cables was fined only $18,000 plus $15,000 in costs. This has resulted in some State governments introducing new laws that will enable inspections on existing buildings and take samples for testing. A change from current situation of inspecting active building sites. We need to have tighter restrictions on imported items used in construction.