Schwarten hits back at BSA critics
MINISTER for Public Works Robert Schwarten hit back at criticism from dissatisfied Building Services Authority clients during a parliamentary speech yesterday.
Nine customers of Bundaberg’s failed builders made claims in yesterday’s NewsMail that the authority did not help them until it was forced by political pressure, and had left them out of pocket.
But Mr Schwarten claimed they should have had no grounds for complaint.
“It is disappointing to see successful claimants of the BSA’s Home Warranty Insurance Scheme criticising the BSA,” he said.
“Senior BSA staff personally met with many claimants and guided them through the process to secure payments under the scheme.”
But some of the victims mentioned in Mr Schwarten’s speech said while the BSA had given them some assistance, they were still not satisfied with their service or the end result.
Nola Binder, who received $71,833 from BSA insurance, said she was given “no help at all” when she first approached the authority following the collapse of Coral Coast Homes.
“It was a nightmare. We couldn’t get information on what to do or how to fill out forms, and we had no idea what to do,” she said.
She said she only got help after Member for Burnett Rob Messenger and the media publicised her situation.
Denis Seth, who bought a Steelsmart kit home that was to be built by Coral Coast Homes, said he was initially told he would not see a cent.
“They told me repeatedly that I had no claim whatsoever, right up until Rob Messenger spoke in parliament,” Mr Seth said.
He was awarded $46,000, but said he chose to finish his home by himself because he had so little faith in the BSA and the building industry.
Pensioner Alan Mayes was told he would lose $80,000 he had paid in advance to Bundaberg Master Homes, after the company collapsed.
But after Member for Burnett Jack Dempsey and the NewsMail published a story on his plight, BSA general manager Ian Jennings met with Mr Mayes and agreed to award $24,000 insurance.
“Nothing happened until Jack Dempsey helped us - I think the BSA could have done more,” Mr Mayes said.
Mr Dempsey said he felt the BSA needed to improve its communications with clients.
Mr Messenger said Mr Schwarten had shown no compassion to victims.
“All he cares about is the damage to his ego,” he said.