Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3785..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
instance, it clarifies that the terms endorsed by the Residential Tenancies Tribunal cannot be inconsistent with the act. The bill makes a number of other minor and technical amendments to the act which will help improve the operation of the law for the benefit of the ACT community, such as defining the concept of "quiet enjoyment".
I foreshadow that I will be making some amendments to the bill. These amendments have been formulated as a result of consultation with the community. They deal with access to premises for inspections, clarification of the definition of "tenancy dispute", clarification of the powers of the tribunal, and the exclusion of a lessor's liability to pay charges for gas supply. I thank members for their support of this important piece of legislation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Clause 1 agreed to.
MR STEFANIAK (9.24): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 6 at page 3813]. This amendment concerns a starting date which was stipulated as 1 January 2007. A lot of people associated with and affected by this legislation feel that this is too long. One of the reasons for that date is to allow some tenancy agreements now in place to run their course. The substantive aspects of the bill commence within the standard six-month period. We have been advised that it would not be terribly problematic to bring the 2007 date back to, say, 2006, which is what this amendment does.
One of the reasons for the date going out to 2007 is that there are about 30,000 tenancy agreements-that is just format-in stock, and that would run down. A longer date would save drawing up of new tenancy agreements, but that is going to have to happen. I am advised that a starting date of 1 January 2006 would be much more realistic and also much more consistent with the substantive aspects of the bill, which commence within the standard six-month period. I am advised that it would still effectively be close to 18 months before this got up and running, but that this would be a much more reasonable date, rather than 2007. I commend the amendment to the Assembly.
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (9.26): The government will support this amendment. Affected as I was by Mr Stefaniak's outrageous claim in relation to the previous debate that, out of perversity, the government never supports Liberal amendment, the government is happy to support this amendment. The government made a decision around 1 January 2007. I am disinclined to argue that bringing it forward a year will be an impediment to the private sector and put them under a bit more pressure. To the extent that there is any difficulty for the private sector in relation to existing agreements, I imagine it would be minimal. Once again, these are matters for judgment and I am more than happy to accept this amendment.