Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 467..
MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
MS TUCKER (10.31): I present the Energy Efficiency Ratings (Sale of Premises) (Amendment) Bill 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MS TUCKER: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, it is with considerable frustration that I am tabling this Bill today, as I have been greatly disappointed by the Government's poor handling of the implementation of the legislation passed by this Assembly at the end of 1997 to require people selling their houses to disclose the energy efficiency rating of the house to potential buyers. At the time the legislation was passed, a 12-month implementation period was put into the Act to allow the Government sufficient time to prepare for the implementation. However, it was only in November 1998, just over six weeks before the commencement date, that the Government publicly announced the details of how the legislation would be applied.
People in the process of selling their houses who had little knowledge of this legislation were suddenly confronted with the need to get copies of their house plans and get a rating assessment. Not surprisingly, there was considerable adverse public reaction to this announcement and, in panic, the Government, on Tuesday, 8 December 1998, put up a Bill to defer the commencement date for a further three months. That was the third last sitting day of the year, so the Bill had to be passed by the Thursday of that week. The Assembly had three days to consider this deferral.
At the same time, the Law Society of the ACT raised with the Government and me a number of concerns with some technical aspects of the original Act. I did attempt to prepare some amendments to the Government's Bill to address some of the simpler concerns but, given the lack of time, I was not able to address all their concerns as I wanted to get other legal advice to test the validity of the Law Society's concerns. A major concern raised by the Law Society, and also the Real Estate Institute, was the fact that there was no phase-in period for the implementation of the Act. On the commencement date, every house on the market had to have an energy rating. People who had had their house on the market before the commencement date were in a difficult