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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 647 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

Taking the totality of Mr Rugendyke's amendment, it does strike the right balance, and I do not have any difficulty with it. I will support this amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8.00 pm

Clauses 106 and 107, by leave, taken together.

MR RUGENDYKE (8.02): I move amendment No 4 circulated in my name on the pink sheet which proposes that these clauses be omitted and that proposed new clauses 106, 107, 107A, 107B and 107C be substituted [see schedule 3 part 3 at page 716].

Mr Speaker, these amendments relate to the renewal process and to improving security of tenure. They replace my earlier failed amendment relating to preference being given to the existing tenant and to security of tenure. I have been negotiating with Labor on this point. It became clear that Mr Stanhope was close to supporting my original proposals but would be more comfortable if we adapted amendments that resembled what was already in place in South Australia. I acknowledge the patience and time afforded by Mr Stanhope's office and also Parliamentary Counsel as we have worked through these issues. I also thank Kerrie Tucker's office for cooperating in this process and Mr Stefaniak's staff for participating in consultation in the lead-up to this debate.

I have mentioned already that the federal government inquiry endorsed security of tenure as a measure that was imperative to striking a fair balance. While these amendments are not my preferred model, this is at least a step in the right direction and is certainly an improvement of what was proposed by the government.

This division relating to renewal is introduced with a clear policy statement that the objective is to achieve an appropriate balance between lessors and tenants in lease renewals. This makes it clear that the tenant can request the lessor to advise whether it is intended to renew the lease within specified time periods. This new division also includes clear guidelines on rules of conduct at the end of a lease for shopping centre leases, giving the existing tenant preference to renew over other possible tenants.

Mr Speaker, there are provisions where first right of refusal would not apply, and that includes if the landlord reasonably wants to change the tenancy mix or if the tenant breaches the lease. There are other exemptions which are outlined, and they are more extensive than my original proposals. That is the compromise I have had to explore to try to achieve an improvement for a small business.

The South Australian model also includes certified exclusionary clauses which exclude tenants from the rights under proposed new section 107A. I am not an admirer of these and, if they are adopted, I will carefully monitor how they operate in practice as I am concerned that there is scope for landlords to place undue pressure on small businesses to take them up. If the landlord fails to comply with this division there is a provision for tenants to make an application to the Magistrates Court.

There is a further amendment that proposed new section 107A only applies to prospective leases as per South Australia. I urge members to support these provisions.

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