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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 3509 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

home buyers in making the informed decision they need to make in relation to the energy efficiency of a property. It will also act as an incentive in many respects for existing home owners wherever possible to increase the energy efficiency of their property.

The Government has had 12 months to work through the implementation process for this legislation and to advise residents and people in the industry affected by the consequences of this Bill what it means and what they will need to do to abide by it. The only reason we are prepared to support the implementation date for the original legislation being set back three months is that at the moment implementation will take place over Christmas. That is a difficult time of the year, for a range of reasons. We are prepared to concede that the implementation date can sensibly be set back to the end of March.

Ms Tucker has circulated some amendments to this Bill but the Government have indicated that they are not willing to support them. I understand that Ms Tucker will now not be proposing those amendments in the debate this afternoon. I am a little disappointed with that. I think her amendments were sensible. They would have provided for a phase-in period once the legislation took effect, so that residents putting their home on the market in the month preceding implementation of the legislation would have been exempt for a period of up to six months. That is my understanding of the amendments. They seemed to me to be sensible amendments and we would have been prepared to support them.

I do not really understand why the Government is unwilling to support the amendments, but I accept that they have not had much time to consider them and would like a little more time to consider the implications. In recognition of the lack of time that the Government has had to consider the amendments, we are prepared not to press that issue. Once those amendments do come on for debate, as long as it occurs within that three-month period we will have next year if this Bill is successful, we will support them. I flag that now.

The Energy Efficiency Ratings (Sale of Premises) Act is a very important piece of legislation. It has caused some controversy in the community, but the Labor Party is of the view that once this legislation is up and running people will realise that it is not an Act which imposes an onerous constraint upon home owners in the form of charges, when you think about the other charges associated with selling a home. It will certainly have advantages for prospective home buyers and for our environment, and hopefully it will lead to an increase in the energy efficiency of existing homes.

MS TUCKER (5.24): I am supportive of this Bill but I am very concerned about that Government's poor implementation of the original legislation. The Government has had 12 months in which to implement that legislation but it was only on 10 November, just over six weeks before the due commencement date, that the Government publicly announced details of how the legislation would be applied. People in the process of selling their houses who had little knowledge of this legislation were suddenly confronted with a need to get copies of their house plans and get a rating assessment. This was not helped by difficulties experienced by people trying to get copies of their house plans from BEPCON, who seemed unprepared for the rush.

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