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(Quorum formed) . . Page.. 171 ..

Even that, however, Mr Speaker, may be a slight exaggeration. Members will recall that there was an exclusion, more or less, of existing leases - that is, those that were in existence before 2 January this year - from the operation of the Act. There is, however, a provision that a dispute arising from facts or circumstances that occur after 1 January might be subject to the processes of the tribunal or of the Act. I understand that a number of disputes that have arisen since that time and that affect existing leases have in fact been referred to the tribunal under this process.

Mr Connolly: Just on a point of order, Mr Humphries: We notice that Mr Moore, who was calling quorums during his remarks on the MPI, is not present to hear your remarks, which we in the Opposition are listening to with considerable interest.

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank the member for his interjection, illegal as it might have been.

Mr Berry: There is a quorum problem.

MR SPEAKER: There was no call to draw my attention to the state of the house.

Mr Berry: Would you like me to?

MR SPEAKER: Maybe you would like to do that, Mr Berry. (Quorum formed) The Chair does not recognise any member unless they are sitting in their seat. Might I also remind the Government that it is their responsibility to make sure that the house has a quorum. Please continue, Mr Humphries.

MR HUMPHRIES: As I was saying a moment ago, it is certainly the case that some disputes affecting existing leases may well be capable of being brought at least to a mediation process, or maybe even a hearing before the tribunal, if they relate to harsh and oppressive conduct arising since the beginning of this year.

For the benefit of members, I will run through briefly the sorts of things which have to date come to the attention of the acting deputy registrar of the tribunal as the grounds on which tenants particularly have brought complaints under the Act. These include refusal to renew leases on disputed grounds; rent disputes; accounting methods used in determining rent due and payable - that includes when there should be an increase in rent and whether it should be according to the CPI or on some other basis; disputes over conditions in premises, for example, air-conditioning or heating not working properly; harsh and oppressive conduct from the landlord; misrepresentation in a lease, for example, the level of competition that would be experienced by a particular business in circumstances in which the landlord might have intimated a certain level of non-competition to a tenant and the tenant finds that that is not the case at the end of the day; non-cooperation by a landlord in selling a business; disputes over the vacation of premises if a lease runs out and a person is forced to move, for example; disputes over compensation payable on relocation; and the cost of relocation as a result of new constructions - rent payable on relocated premises. Some of those matters, members will be aware, have arisen in conjunction with the redevelopment of the food court at the Woden Plaza. I suspect, although I do not know for a fact, that a number of those 13 complaints relate to that particular exercise.

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