Up to $230,000 is available to provide legal advice, advocacy services and assist or represent residential home building consumers.
The Home Building Advocacy Service Program (HoBAS) is a triennial program which funds an organisation to provide legal advice, advocacy services and assist or represent (where appropriate) NSW residential home building consumers before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
HoBAS assists consumers in resolving residential building disputes in a cost effective manner. HoBAS targets those consumers who have an ongoing dispute with a building contractor despite prior involvement by NSW Fair Trading.
The NSW Government is committed to ensuring that dispute resolution is more equitable to NSW residential home building consumers. Fair Trading’s role in providing consumer protection and marketplace regulation means that it provides services which promote the rights and responsibilities of both home building consumers and contractors. HoBAS only provides services to consumers.
Funding of HoBAS contributes to the achievement of Fair Trading’s strategic intent, that NSW will be recognised for value and fairness in the marketplace. It also assists the Government to achieve its consumer protection and social justice policy objectives and assists in ensuring that the community has access to information and consumer help.
The objectives of HoBAS are to provide:
- Advice to NSW residential home building consumers on their rights, responsibilities and on what action can be taken to resolve their home building dispute;
- Advocacy to builders or relevant parties on behalf of residential home building consumers via telephone calls, letters or personal representation;
- Negotiation of disputes between consumers and builders or relevant party;
- Assistance to residential home building consumers in the preparation of cases for Tribunal hearings;
- Representation of residential home building consumers at Tribunal hearings where considered appropriate;
- Referrals to relevant authorities; and
- Community education activities.
$229,278 per annum was allocated under this program to 30 June 2012.
Variations to funded project budgets, activities or timeframes must be approved by NSW Fair Trading. All such requests from grant recipients must be made in writing to the Commissioner. Generally, variations may be considered for events which were unforeseen at the time of the project application and where costs cannot be met from within existing funding assistance. Variations with increases to funding levels will only be approved subject to availability of funds and will not exceed more than 5% of the original amount granted unless special circumstances arise.
The current funding period is 1 October 2015 to 30 June 2018.
To be eligible to apply for funding to operate the HoBAS an organisation must:
- be financially viable and incorporated or registered in NSW;
- be consumer focused with a demonstrated track record in managing effective service delivery to the general public;
- be willing to operate the HoBAS on a ‘not for profit’ basis. (This does not preclude profit making organisations from applying, providing they are prepared to operate the HoBAS on a ‘not for profit’ basis);
- be able to demonstrate a proven track record in effective staff, financial and organisational management;
- be able to demonstrate sound clerical and administrative experience;
- have current access to, or be able to satisfactorily demonstrate how it will access, the essential expertise areas of:
- law, with particular reference to home building legislation;
- experience of working in or with the home building industry;
- dispute resolution experience.
- be independent of government; and
- be committed to principles of effective dispute resolution
It should be noted that a joint expression of interest from two or more organisations wishing to pool their expertise is welcomed.
Applications must be able to demonstrate the following:
- Applicant’s organisation is financially viable, as demonstrated by its last two audits and most recent annual report;
- Provision of a comprehensive workplan which meets HoBAS Guidelines;
- Demonstrated achievements in service delivery, planning, development & evaluation, including responsiveness to emerging needs;
- Proven record of effective financial, staff & organisational management;
- Demonstrated commitment to providing equitable and accessible services;
- Proven commitment to accountability, including use of mechanisms for ongoing monitoring and evaluation, and timely submission of prescribed reports which comply with relevant funding requirements;
- Experience in providing legal advice and effective advocacy services
- Commitment and experience in effective dispute resolution mechanisms;
- Understanding, expertise and knowledge of NSW Home Building legislation;
- Proven ability in the development and provision of effective community education;
- Demonstrated understanding of the requirements of working within a court /tribunal environment;
- Demonstrated experience in promoting and participating in inter-agency liaison and collaboration; and
- Proven capacity to develop and present policy positions to government agencies and other relevant forums in relation to Home Building law issues.
To be announced.