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I am a little concerned to hear Mr Humphries saying that a central goal for the Government is to bring the legislation and the code into line with New South Wales, because that, in virtually all points, would be a retreat. While we looked at the New South Wales code and used it as a good starting point, we very consciously developed a code that went further. My statement that I am encouraged by Mr Humphries sits on the one hand; I am encouraged that Mr Humphries has been prepared to come in here and name Lend Lease and indicate that the Government may look at toughening up provisions if that type of behaviour continues. That is very much on the credit side of your ledger. But to say as a statement of policy that you want to bring the code into line with that in New South Wales is something that would be of great concern to tenants in the ACT, because they recognise that the ACT code is significantly in advance of that in New South Wales.
One may hope that the new Labor Government in New South Wales will look at our code and modify the New South Wales arrangements to bring them more into line with the ACT. It may be that your concern about uniformity with New South Wales will be addressed by Mr Carr and his new Consumer Affairs Minister rather than by us retreating. But it would be of great concern if there was a retreat from the ACT position, and it would be very detrimental if uniformity with the old New South Wales code was seen as the overriding consideration. That would be definitely a backward step for tenants.
Mr Speaker, I am encouraged that there does seem to be a continuation of will to make this code work. It was a landmark. It was something that took well over 20 years to get into place, and I think that to say after three months of operation that it has failed is to make a rather harsh judgment. To be critical of the then Assembly for not delivering perfection, Mr Moore, is a counsel of perfection which is really not achievable in this very complex issue of reconciling tenants' and landlords' rights. This issue is one that we in opposition will be watching very carefully. Any weakening from the current regime as could be flagged by a move to uniformity with New South Wales is something we would very strongly resist.
MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Business, Employment and Tourism) (4.37): Mr Speaker, I think it is important that Mr Moore did bring up this matter of public importance. I am aware that consultation with tenant, landlord and small business interests on the development of a regulator framework has been an ongoing process for many years. As a result of the deliberations of the working party comprising industry and government representatives, a draft code of practice was developed which underwent a very thorough public consultation process under the previous Government. That consultation process canvassed a broad spectrum of interests, including small business organisations and national and interstate retail associations.
The Act and code are the result of a middle-ground approach to most of the key issues that were the subject of contention between the main tenants and the landlord groups. The concern of tenant groups, of course, centred mainly on the development of a fair and equitable dispute resolution process and the market value of rents. The framework now