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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 1081..


MS MacDONALD

(continuing):

they have suffered discrimination. They do not receive the same recognition in our society. I believe this bill will put paid to that.

Mr Speaker, I think it is important for us to look at striving towards getting some form of equality, at a national level, for these people. There is still inequality, at a national level, for people who fit into those categories. That is certainly the case from a taxation point of view, and the legal recognition of marriages, et cetera. While there are those in our community who say that it goes against God, or is against their religion, I personally do not feel that way. I think society has well and truly moved on. It is time for us to start acknowledging that there are people in our society who are gays and lesbians, who wish to have and maintain a relationship with a significant other, and to have that relationship recognised.

Housing rental

MS TUCKER

(6.09): I want to speak briefly about a matter raised yesterday during the debate on Mrs Burke's motion. That was ruled out of order because it was not relevant to the subject. I refer to the question of private rentals in Canberra at the moment. I want to get this on the record. I am not sure how we address it as an Assembly, or how the government deals with it, but it is of concern.

Since the bushfires, I have had a concerning number of complaints about the fact that the pressure on the market is causing rents to go up. I know it is not normally seen to be a good thing to have rent control in a society which is supportive of the ideology of the market-and that the market will determine a fair price. However, I do not think that works in a disaster situation such as the one we are in at the moment after the fires, when there is an extreme shortage of housing.

I believe there are people making money out of this situation, and that is pretty offensive. One complaint I had was where a couple signed a rental agreement on a three-bedroomed house. Just prior to moving in, they informed the owner that the parents of one of them, who had lost their house in the bushfires, would be living in the house for a short period. The owner then said that the rent would have to be raised while the extra people were living there.

The couple decided that the attitude of the landlord was unacceptable. They decided to leave and not occupy the house. The landlord was not fussed because he obviously had other tenants who were prepared to pay a higher price.

I was very concerned to hear that that had happened in Canberra. I believe there is reason to engage in discussion about the potential for some kind of rent control after a disaster such as we have had-and also generally in the community now. When we have such a tight rental market, the government should take responsibility for keeping an eye on what is going on with rents. It is not an acceptable or just state of affairs if the market is leading to a situation where people are profiting from the lack of availability of rental accommodation and taking advantage of people who can ill afford it.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.12 pm until Tuesday, 1 April 2003 at 10.30 am.


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