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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 628 ..

Clause 83 reads:

A tenant of premises in the retail area of a shopping centre is not entitled to compensation under section 81 Compensation for disturbance) only because-

... ... ...

(b) there is a change in the mix of tenants who hold leases in the shopping centre.

Ms Tucker's amendment seeks to add the following words at the end of paragraph (b):

unless the change materially affects the tenant's business.

Mr Deputy Speaker, this amendment would allow a tenant to seek compensation when a shopping centre enlargement results in additional competition to the tenant. It would enable a tenant to seek compensation in relation to any shopping centre enlargement if that caused a change that materially affected the tenant's business.

We strongly oppose the amendment because the effect would be to allow a tenant to get compensation on the grounds that the enlargement results in additional competition to that tenant. I think that is an outrageous provision. For example, assume that the tenants are selling clothing. Will the tenants be allowed to sue the landlord every time a new tenant comes into a centre selling like goods? Quite clearly, that would be ridiculous.

There are a number of tenants at Westfield, Belconnen, for example, who sell clothing. I am sure that some of them do very well. Let us say that two shops are selling clothing and another person wants to come in and sell clothing. Under Ms Tucker's amendment the other two tenants would be able to sue the landlord for compensation. Quite clearly, that is a ridiculous situation. It is not something that I think most people would want to see happen. If Ms Tucker or anyone else are worried about any sort of unconscionable conduct, that is already catered for in clause 22 of the bill. So the government would strongly oppose this amendment.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (5.11): The Labor Party has looked long and hard at this provision. My office has been engaged in quite detailed negotiations, particularly with Ms Tucker's office and also with the minister's office, in relation to this. I say at the outset-and I will explain my reasoning-that the Labor Party will not be supporting this amendment. I acknowledge that this is a difficult issue. The tenant mix-and the extent to which a tenant mix impacts on a particular business' profitability-is something I guess that could potentially affect quite significantly some tenants or some businesses.

People make decisions when they go into business, and Mr Rugendyke used the example of a number of bakeries that are located in the market across the road from the Assembly. We can have an interesting debate about whether or not people who went into those businesses could or should potentially be compensated simply as a consequence of a commercial decision which they took to establish a business in competition with a number of existing businesses of the same sort.

Mr Rugendyke referred to the City Market. It is interesting to note that Supabarn has a bakery at that centre. Bakers Delight is also in the centre. This very profitable bakery has a most charming sales assistant, which I have no doubt has enhanced their business

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