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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 3511 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

on products to give consumers information that they could not reasonably obtain through other means. The principal legislation applies the same principle to houses through the requirement that sellers obtain an energy rating of houses, rather than unreasonably expecting that buyers would be able to access sufficient technical information about houses on sale to make an objective and comparable assessment of their potential energy efficiency.

I accept the criticism that the rating scheme is imprecise as a measure of actual house energy consumption because the actual behaviour of future occupants is unknown. However, this does not diminish the ratings value in comparing how structural features of houses, which by their nature are much harder to change, would impact on the energy costs of heating or cooling.

It should be obvious that I remain committed to the energy rating disclosure legislation and want to make sure it works. Even though I do not like the way the Government has handled its implementation, I accept that an extension of the implementation period would be useful for the community to get more used to the legislation and also to sort out any bureaucratic hitches. I acknowledge that the legislation will cause a significant impact on the real estate market, but for the sake of the planet it is quite clear to me that the community as a whole must become more aware of the importance of energy efficiency and the link with the greenhouse effect and global warming.

To help make the transition to this new scheme easier for those people currently in the process of selling their houses, I was going to put up amendments to the Bill today, but I will not be doing that, because the Government feels that it needs a little more time to consider them. I accept that. I acknowledge Brendan Smyth's personal commitment to this legislation. I think he genuinely does have a commitment to it because of the greenhouse savings, and I commend him for that. I hope that within the next three months we will be able to work with the Government to look at the amendments I have proposed. If there are any other amendments, then we are certainly happy to look at them also.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (5.30): Mr Speaker, on behalf of Mr Smyth I will close this debate. The Government is pleased that the legislation will be passed today. Of course, it will work with parties in the Assembly over the next three months to put in place a workable regime for the legislation. I have to react a little bit to the comments of Ms Tucker in which she criticised the Government for the state of affairs which we have reached at the moment. I should remind members that the Government was not entirely comfortable with this legislation in the first place. The Government, unsuccessfully, moved amendments to this legislation and the Government opposed outright the provisions which dealt with residential tenancies. I think on each occasion the Assembly overrode the view of the Government. Having encountered those difficulties with the legislation, the Government finds it is a bit much now to hear lecturing of the Government about the fact that Ms Tucker's legislation has not worked out as she intended. It is hardly the fault of the Government if that is the case.

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