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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 630 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

In addition to that, there are other provisions within the bill that allow tenants to sue for relief through the Magistrates Court.

As I said, my office discussed this provision at length with Ms Tucker's office. We also discussed it at length with the government to try to come to an understanding of the range of circumstances in which tenants can pursue an unconscionable, an unfair or a rapacious landlord. We feel, on balance, that the legislation provides tenants with a range of protections and that we do not need this specific provision over and above the range of other avenues that are available.

To some extent the issues of fact in relation to why a particular business went bad would become horribly confused in the circumstances proposed by Ms Tucker or Mr Rugendyke-the facts and the proof that would be required to illustrate or determine that a particular business suffered materially as a result of a tenant mix rather than as a result of bad management or bad business practices. I am not quite sure how you can differentiate between them.

MS TUCKER (5.20): I understand the concerns of Labor and other members about this, but the reality as we understand it is that there is a problem here. I accept what the majority of the Assembly is saying today-Labor and Liberal anyway-about their concerns about the language. Perhaps there is another way of doing it. Perhaps it should be included in clause 22 and in some way specifically mentioned as an issue.

I can see that the amendment will not be successful. I understand the arguments but I also understand there is a problem out there in the real world. So this place needs to be aware that we may well want to have this debated again. Perhaps we can find another solution if this continues to be a problem.

As I said, its our understanding that it has been a problem and this amendment is a response to particular behaviours that have been occurring. I hope that we will see a willingness to deal with this issue in another way if we continue to get feedback that this behaviour is not acceptable.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (5.21): Mr Deputy Speaker, I want to indicate that I agree with what the Attorney-General and the opposition leader have had to say. I think the more one considers the implications of passing this amendment-which, incidentally, I think in many respects negates the effect of clause 83 (b)-the more one realises that its effect would be to make it impossible for any centre owner to effectively change the mix of their tenants.

If a centre were so small that it had just one clothing store, one newsagency, one bakery and one supermarket, there might not be a problem, although there are examples where, say, a newsagent will sell some of the same product lines as those sold by a supermarket. We have larger centres where there are more than one clothing store or more than one store selling food, and inevitably any change in the mix of the centre results in potentially improved competition and, therefore, you have the potential of somebody who is not as competitive as another tenant in the centre losing market share.

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