Mixed news on seminars

STATE Government moves to run seminars helping regional builders apply for home indemnity insurance may not be as successful as it hopes.

The seminars are aimed at helping builders overcome their problems of finding home indemnity insurance after the collapse of HIH Insurance – one of the major home indemnity insurers.

In the wake of the insurer’s demise, small builders have been facing indemnity insurance premium hikes of between 25 per cent and 300 per cent.

Builders are legally required to hold indemnity insurance cover.

WA’s home building sector has been struggling since the post-GST slump. Just as their industry was starting to get back on its feet it was hit by the HIH collapse. The Government’s recent proposal to drag sub-contractors – the lifeblood of the home building industry – into the payroll tax net has brought the industry more grief.

Despite the tough times, builders are expecting busy September and December quarters.

Consumer Protection Minister John Kobelke said the free regional seminars followed a highly successful series of seminars in the metropolitan area.

“Builders will receive information on business financials, insurers’ assessment guidelines and practical tips for completing application forms,” Mr Kobelke said.

“We have received very positive feedback from metropolitan builders who attended similar seminars.”

However, building industry groups believe the seminars are too late to be of practical assistance to regional builders.

Master Builders Association executive director Michael McLean said the regional seminars were coming too late for many builders.

“Some regional builders have already ceased trading,” Mr McLean said. “Had the seminars been three months earlier, they could have been helpful.”

The first regional seminars will be held in Bunbury on September 26 and Dunsborough on September 27.

Further seminars are planned for Albany and Geraldton later in the year.

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