Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 June 2018) . . Page.. 1990 ..


find it. This is not the only instance where the ACT government have a very good program that is impossible for people to access because they cannot find out anything about it. If you were cynical, you might conclude the ACT government do not want to encourage people who would benefit from this service accessing it.

In this instance I am not that cynical. I think it is purely poor service provision. I do not think the government are trying to stop it being accessed; I think they just have not thought about how people will access it, because I do not know how they would. I know of only one person who has accessed it, and they did that through another service provider who knew about the bond. But if you have the misfortune of being a low income person and are not well and truly in the service provision system, it is beyond me how you would work it out.

While this amendment is welcome, it is not the only amendment that will be needed as part of the rental reform puzzle. After conducting consultation in 2014, the review of the Residential Tenancies Act was published in June 2016. It included two tranches of recommendations. The first were largely non-controversial or low-hanging fruit, and they have all been implemented. Thank you. The second tranche, not all of which the Greens support, are being progressed, but they are being progressed very slowly.

I understand the Attorney-General will release further legislation on this subject later in the year, and I look forward very much to seeing the content of this. Hopefully, this might include: developing occupancy agreements for those who are boarding or lodging or in a caravan park, allowing tenants to give 14 days notice to leave a rental property if they have been offered social housing, and reducing the maximum amount of rent payable in advance from four weeks to two weeks, which would bring the ACT in line with New South Wales. That is also relevant to the discussion about the need or otherwise for ways to make providing rental bonds easier. If you have to produce less rent up-front then you will find it easier to provide a bond and not have to think about the bond guarantees.

Other areas where we would like to see work being done on the RTA include: removing discrimination against pet owners or at least facilitating pet ownership—I understand this is a sometimes fraught and difficult issue, but it is a real issue to many tenants; instituting minimum standards for security in tenancies; and extending some of the notice periods for evictions with grounds and placing more onus on landlords to provide evidence as to why an eviction is necessary. To conclude, I thank the Attorney-General and his directorate for the work on this bill, which the Greens support.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (11.25): I rise to speak to the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill and echo some comments made by my colleague Mr Parton. This bill clearly strikes the wrong balance. When dealing with residential tenancies clearly there is a requirement to properly balance the rights and the needs of the tenant and also the rights and the needs of the property owner. For me and members of the opposition, this bill clearly strikes the wrong balance. The pendulum has swung too far in favour of tenant rights and leaves a substantial and enlarged risk being carried by the property owner.


Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video