Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 791 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
The Law Reform Commission put out a consultation paper, in order to inform, on a report they are to produce on matters related to residential tenancy, boarders and lodgers, and community housing and caravans. I understand that a final report will be released not too far into the future. Hopefully, this will guide the Government on how to legislate on these matters. My amendment requires the Government not to sell the Narrabundah long-stay caravan park until such legislation has been put to this Assembly.
A Commonwealth report on this matter has also identified the issues. In most States there have been reviews of tenancy legislation. With most of them, the report has expressed a need to have specific legislation covering residents in caravan parks. Of particular note are mobile or relocatable homes or caravans that have rigid annexes affixed to them. I understand from a resident of the Narrabundah park that out of 100 sites only three would not fit into this category. Special note was made of these residents because of the huge cost of relocation and because some residents would be unable to move their dwelling without totally dismantling it. The estimated cost of removal and relocation for a rigid structure is between $7,000 and $10,000. These issues are why New South Wales carried out an extensive review of caravan park living. New South Wales has covered caravan park residents since 1989, and in 1994 a review gave greater security of tenure, particularly for those with relocatable homes or rigid annexes.
In Victoria there is a regulatory framework protecting residents in relation to rents and charges, termination and resident's rights. This protection takes effect when a resident determines the caravan park dwelling to be their main residence, where they live for at least 90 days per year.
In South Australia the report of a working party consisting of government, industry and community representatives recommended that any legislation largely mirror the Residential Tenancies Act, with specific modifications for the type of dwelling and the special living circumstances of caravan parks. In Western Australia around 10,000 people, occupying approximately 21 per cent of caravan bays, are permanent residents. The Residential Tenancies Act does not exclude caravans. It does not, however, include specific provision covering caravan tenancies. A review of the Act once again recommended specific tenancy provisions for caravan park use that would include a standard tenancy agreement and regulation of fees.
I noticed in the debate on residential tenancy in 1997 that Mr Michael Moore brought attention to the need for government to address this area, so I hope to see support from him for my amendment and this motion. I hope to see Mr Smyth move on this issue as well, because the reason I have listed and explained the issues here is that he did say yesterday that he was not aware of them.
It is very important that the Government ensure legislative protection for its tenants before it sells the caravan park. The concerns of the current tenants are perfectly reasonable, and government has a responsibility not to rush off and sell this asset without first ensuring that the rights of tenants are protected.
I move the following amendment to the motion: