The State Government has been accused of failing in its responsibility to protect homeowners, after telling a family to seek justice in court over their sinking house.
Shadow attorney-general Michael Mischin said it was unacceptable for his government counterpart John Quigley to wipe his hands of any responsibility for the plight of Yanchep couple Chris and Karen Mettimano.
Several geotechnical reports claim their 15-year old house was sinking because of a failure to properly compact the land.
Mr Quigley — who is set to meet the couple on Friday — said last week the matter was outside the jurisdiction of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety because the house involved was more than six years old. He said he had nonetheless directed government departments to look into the matter, but they could not establish responsibility and it was “ultimately a matter for the courts.”
Mr Mischin, pictured, said homebuyers should be able to trust the State Government will protect them if there is a problem with their home that is not their fault, as it does when natural sinkholes cause household damage.
He said if the law does not currently ensure proper compaction, the State Government should introduce such protections, as well as ensure remedies if companies fail to meet those obligations.
He said forcing the family through court would be costly and take years, potentially involving action against land developer Peet, builder Scott Park homes and their structural engineers.
“(For him to say) it is not a matter of a weakness in the law, and pointing them to towards the courts is offensive,” Mr Mischin said.
“I call upon the Minister to address an obvious weakness in the law, which enables those responsible for a serious latent defect in the preparation of the ground on which they build people’s homes to get away with it if the defect can stay hidden just long enough.
“If the McGowan Government is prepared to spend public money to stimulate a building boom, it should also ensure that the families buying those houses are protected down the track should this happen again.”