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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 653 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

As I say, it does appear to me that this provision has developed in the minds of some a symbolic importance that it does not deserve. I will say no more on that other than that I do not think some of the concerns that have been expressed will come to pass. I believe, when one reads through this range of sections, that the discretions that it contains are sufficient to ensure that the landlord can continue to protect his particular interests and investments yet allow the tenant this preferential right, this right to first refusal, if I might express it as such. It seems to me to be fair and appropriate. It ensures that the tenant does have a security of tenure that would otherwise not be available. It is on that basis that the Labor Party is prepared to take this reasonably dramatic step in ensuring the protection in this regard of this range of tenants' rights.

As I said before, the Labor Party accepts the government's position and argument in relation to the amendments which Mr Stefaniak has moved. As I also indicated, the Labor Party will not support proposed subclause 107AA (7). I am happy to move that particular amendment now.

MR SPEAKER: If you would, please.

MR STANHOPE: I beg your pardon, Mr Speaker. I am advised that the government proposes to amend proposed clause 107AA to achieve the same purpose that my amendment would achieve. Assuming that the government does that, I will not proceed with my amendment at this stage. If they do not do it I will.

MS TUCKER (8.27): The Greens have already made their position clear on this particular matter because we supported Mr Rugendyke's first amendment, and this is basically a watered down version. These amendments share some of the objectives of the previous amendment, but these are modelled closely on similar provisions now in force in South Australia. This offers the preferential treatment only to tenants in shopping centres and reflects, perhaps, the ongoing pressures of property owners and landlords to limit the impact of Mr Rugendyke's amendments.

These amendments also provide a few extra allowances for landlords, including the provision of certified exclusionary certificates which allow for a tenant, on gaining advice from an independent lawyer, to surrender their right to be a preferred tenant. This amendment also makes clear that this preferential treatment is also limited if the lease is a sublease by the terms of the head lease, or if the lease is excluded under regulation. The principle remains, however, that existing tenants are allowed to renew or extend their lease in preference to other possible tenants, but in this case only in shopping centres. We will be supporting this.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (8.29): Mr Speaker, I formally move the amendment which I mentioned to Mr Stanhope.

MR SPEAKER: We need to have it circulated first, Mr Stefaniak.

MR STEFANIAK: I give notice that I will do that. I want to say a few words in relation to some of the comments to date. I think Mr Stanhope made a very good point in relation to investment. Investment is something that is not just important for big business. It is important also for small business. If we do not have investment there is no opportunity for many small businesses to operate.

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