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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 799 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

no further action be taken on the suggested sale of the Narrabundah long-stay caravan park until the Government ...

It goes on to list a series of things that the Government needs to do before that occurs. Mr Smyth is proposing that we remove that. I would argue that we cannot do that. We cannot do that for the very reason that Ms Tucker highlights in her amendment, that is, that the Assembly needs to provide for the protection of tenants' rights, specific to the needs of those who live in long-term caravan parks. If we remove the requirement that the Government not proceed until it meets the concerns of the Assembly in relation to the costs and benefits and the protection of tenants' rights, then those people will not be protected by any effective legislative regime in the ACT. That is what the Government is proposing, and that is why the Minister's proposal to remove that paragraph from the motion is wrong.

We would like to see the Government come back to this Assembly with a proper framework for protecting the interests of tenants. The Minister stood up in this place and said, "We all know that a person can move for a lease variation". So it does not matter what guarantee he makes as to how long the caravan park will operate as a caravan park. His words mean nothing, because we all know that a person can come to the Government and say, "I want a lease variation to change the purpose for which I use this land". When that happens, I can hear the Minister saying, "They are entitled to do this". That is exactly right - they are. It does not matter what guarantee the Minister makes. Unless there is a proper legal framework that protects the rights of tenants, that lease variation process will disregard the rights of tenants. That is why we should not be proceeding with a sale until the Government meets these demands. I urge members to reject Mr Smyth's amendment.

MR WOOD (5.40): Mr Speaker, I wish to speak to the amendment, only to say that the Opposition supports Ms Tucker's amendment.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (5.41): Mr Speaker, I suspect that there is a little bit of grandstanding going on here today. I do not quite know why but - - -

Ms Tucker: Probably because people's lives are being affected.

MR HUMPHRIES: I realise that. This dichotomy of uncaring, callous, money-grubbing Liberals versus the people on the other side of the chamber with their hands on their hearts is, to use Mr Berry's words, slightly theatrical, and I reject it. We are also concerned to make sure that we deal properly with people's concerns and issues affecting the security of people's homes, but we also have to deal with other issues, including appropriately managing assets of the Territory. I am sorry to have to say that at the one time this particular block is both an asset of the Territory and people's homes.

We are trying to reconcile the issues in a number of ways. On the issue of what long-term protection of the rights of tenants in caravan parks exists and in particular what is being proposed, members might be aware that the Law Reform Commission has a long-term reference on issues dealing with the rights of tenants in the ACT generally.

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