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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 744 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

The fact is that parties who discover this very often are going to want to complete the sale. If the contract is actually void they are in the position of having to break the law in order to proceed to the sale or they have to go back and start from scratch, exchange contracts afresh and go through the whole process again at considerable expense. That does not make any sense to me. It makes no sense at all.

I think the more practical, effective way of dealing with this issue, to provide that the people actually get the benefit of the provisions here and actually provide an incentive to people to put those provisions in, is to build in a cost penalty that flows to the purchaser. It is a cost penalty to the vendor. You can bet your bottom dollar that every solicitor in town who deals with these things will make damned sure that his client is not going to be hit with that cost penalty because it will come out of his fees or her fees.

Mr Speaker, this is a better provision that the Minister has put forward than the one that exists in the legislation at the moment. It is also one that the Law Society has argued is more effective. I can see the entire scheme falling into disrepute if people are in the position of having sales fall through because of the provisions in this when at least one of the parties wants to proceed and when the house itself might have quite a high energy rating once it is rated. It might be, in fact, a very energy efficient house, but because someone has forgotten to get the bit of paper that says what it is the sale falls through. That is a very bad position to impose on people and we should not let that happen. I urge members to support the amendment put forward by Mr Smyth.

Amendment agreed to.

Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.24 to 2.30 pm


Hepatitis C

MR STANHOPE: My question is to the Minister for Health and Community Care. A report in the Canberra Times of 19 August last year said the Minister would launch an inquiry to find out why ACT Health authorities took no action over the hepatitis C blood contamination issue between late 1994 and 1998. Mr Moore was reported at the time as saying he would conduct a low-level inquiry to see if a more vigorous investigation was required. Can the Minister say whether the low-level inquiry that he said he would launch did in fact reveal the need for a more thorough investigation of this issue?


: I thank Mr Stanhope for the question. I want to clarify something that I tabled yesterday before I get specifically to the question. The document I tabled yesterday had three or four pages of script and a table. There is a discrepancy between the table and the script. As it turns out, the difficulty was that both of them were

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