NSW planning secretary Jim Betts has informed the public that, while he acknowledges widespread citizen concern regarding apartment defects, he is not prepared to give assurance regarding the standard of residential buildings.

He did say that processes were in place to rectify recent and much reported issues with two Sydney apartment buildings and to prevent similar issues arising with future builds–ensuring that buildings are checked and registered and that any problems are identified and resolved from the outset. He also expressed empathy for concerned residents, but said that he could not lend the public a “false assurance”.

Just before Christmas, Sydney’s Opal Tower was evacuated after cracks in the building were discovered. The longer standing Mascot Towers building also cracked last month, a situation that also called for mass evacuation.

Betts, the new NSW department of planning, industry and environment secretary, said that he has yet to determine the full scale of building problems in this area.

Betts emphasised the importance of learning valuable lessons from these building issues, so that public confidence in the building industry can be restored and enhanced—reassuring the public that they can acquire property without assuming undue physical or financial risk.

Betts also stresses the importance of reconciling or balancing out the importance of green building with the pressing need to house a growing population.

He promised that his department would assume responsibility for releasing information into the public domain regarding their work performance, and regarding the time frames during which rezonings and development applications will be processed. And he stressed above all the value of being honest and upfront with the public regarding the building industry.