Page 987 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 15 March 2005
is a matter of most concern to the many tenants who simply wish to live their lives with little disruption, as do those in private tenancy agreements or those who own their own homes.
I am pleased that my representations and certainly those more so from the general community have finally paid off and that they have been the catalyst for change. This is certainly not about singling out public housing tenants in a negative way, because the minister will know only too well that the majority of complaints to his office and mine are, indeed, from public housing tenants against other tenants.
I commend the Chief Minister for providing improved authority to the RTT to exercise evictions under section 40, when there is no other option—and that is the key here: when there is no other option—in line with an existing standard clause in residential tenancy agreements. It is particularly important also that if an eviction needs to be carried out it is done so, as stated in the amendment, at a reasonable hour, unless there are exceptional circumstances. This will occur after all reasonable efforts to encourage tenants to comply with their tenancy agreement, under section 51, have failed.
It is not acceptable, Mr Speaker, that a minority few can be allowed to continue to ruin the lives of the majority, and this is what we see over and over again. We are sending somehow a message to other people: “Come to the ACT and it is all right; you can just carry on; do what you want; disrupt the lives of people; and nothing will be done.” I am pleased that the government has put its foot down finally, that we may now see these people being sent a clear message. I commend the Chief Minister for that.
Further, it is my hope that every effort will be made to assist those who must be evicted, when no other option is feasible, to be able to access services to help them find alternative arrangements. That is also a key; you cannot just leave people on the street. We need to make sure that we give these people every opportunity to get their lives back on track and to live in some semblance of order.
The government must, of course, be focusing its attention on the appropriateness of housing in certain cases, that is, single women with children in housing complexes with a predominantly male population; and, indeed, people being released from prison or those with a mental illness set free into the community, within adequate outreach support network. This in turn would hopefully be an encouraging aspect in service delivery, installing a greater sense of confidence in the tenant to seek early assistance and intervention with any problems—be they financial, personal or social—in order for them to realise their responsibilities and that certain actions would be taken if there is evidence of persistent disruptive behaviour.
Once again, the amendments outlined in this bill are a step in the right direction. Whilst the opposition, including me, is tentatively supportive of the new measures outlined in the bill to assist tenants and landlords alike to continue to be held accountable, I will be monitoring the changes for their efficacy and efficiency.
Mr Speaker, at this point, the Liberal opposition notes that Dr Foskey has tabled some not insignificant amendments. I should also point out and note that it seems as if we have been given a draft copy that was tabled or produced by Dr Foskey’s office this morning at 9.43. Of course, because we have only just sighted these amendments, we will