Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 August 2008) . . Page.. 3200 ..
as a basis for intervention. It allows providers warning and a chance to put their case. This is in effect a show-cause provision and we strongly support these changes. The government has listened to the concerns raised by me in debate and subsequently by providers about the potential abuse of intervention powers, and we therefore support the amendment.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (12.06): The Greens will be supporting this amendment. As have the other speakers, I will speak to the government’s three associated amendments in this one go.
The government’s amendment to clause 8 ensures that the legislation cannot really take effect until the government has put some intervention guidelines in place.
The government’s ninth amendment ensures that the intervention guidelines referred to here are disallowable rather than merely notifiable. I understand informally that, with all the relevant instruments, including the community and the affordable housing standards and the intervention guidelines, I would imagine that this consultation will include not only the actual providers and the peak groups who work with them but tenants’ representatives as well. Here I am simply seeking some reassurance from the minister as to the integrity and respectfulness of the consultation process that the government is committing to in this area.
In regard to the government’s amendment No 9, in relation to clause 8, I am really pleased that these important guidelines will now be disallowable rather than being a notifiable instrument. Again, a brief conversation with the providers would have made it clear that the added transparency of a disallowable instrument is really important to organisations that are governed by this scheme.
Amendment agreed to.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (12.08): I move amendment No 5 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 3291].
I have already spoken to this but I would like to just add here my response to the government’s amendments. Government amendment No 7 would amend clause 8 with a proposed new section. This is again a positive amendment that the Greens support. It provides protection for and integrity of the proper process to govern interventions being made by the commissioner.
I would be interested to know why these provisions have come as a relatively last-minute amendment rather than being part of the original thinking and drafting of the bill. Is it that the ACT government are showing a great deal of sympathetic flexibility to community providers who really, as I think Mr Hargreaves has expressed quite strongly, got their knickers in a knot about nothing? Is it that the department would have much preferred to have ridden roughshod over its community partners and have, in effect, been dragged very late to this issue? Or was it simply an oversight that the last-minute agreement to spend a bit of time listening to community concerns has highlighted, concerns which the government have very properly, and I commend them, taken on board?