Poll finds Canberrans eager for property developer licensing regime

Published: 27 Jul 2022

An overwhelming majority of Canberrans want the ACT Government to get tougher on property developers and urgently introduce a licensing regime, according to new polling conducted by RedBridge and commissioned by the CFMEU ACT.

The survey of 985 Canberrans, which has an error margin of 4.4%, found:

  • 77% of Canberrans want the government to introduce a new license which would require property developers to demonstrate financial capacity to complete any proposed developments and a commitment to ethical behaviour (versus 10% against)
  • 77% of Canberrans agree (56% strongly agree) that property developers have too much unrestricted power in Canberra (versus 10% disagree)
  • 76% of Canberrans agree (56% strong agree) that developers in Canberra are too reckless about adhering to community standards and need stricter controls (versus 9% disagree)

After a litany of development issues, the ACT Government committed to introducing a property developer licensing scheme in 2019. In 2021, Sustainable Building and Construction Minister Rebecca Vassarotti said the government would announce a scheme in the second half of 2022. But ACT property developers are vehemently opposed to a licensing scheme.

"I have no doubt Ms Vassarotti has been the target of intense pressure from the powerful developers lobby in Canberra. They want her to back off on licensing, but she should tell them to take a running jump," CFMEU ACT Branch Secretary Zach Smith.

"A proper licensing regime would send a powerful message to property developers that the free-for-all is over and they now have to respect the standards of the Canberra community.

"Our union has been very supportive of a developer licensing scheme because shonky developers and poor developer behaviour leads to underpayment of workers, substandard conditions, and poor safety on site.

"If you want to drive a car, breed a kitten, or sell a beer in Canberra you'll need a license. But if you want to fundamentally alter the city, employ hundreds of contractors, and collect millions of dollars from ordinary people you don't have to worry. That's a crazy situationĀ  and it should end this year."

Redbridge polled 985 Canberrans before cell-weighting the data by gender and age to reflect local population proportions, creating an effective margin of error of +/- 4.4 per cent.

Interview requests for with Zach Smith or RedBridge Director Kos Samaras via:

Anil Lambert 0416 426 722 (anil@hortonadvisory.com.au)