Page 2656 - Week 08 - Friday, 1 July 2005

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MR SPEAKER: Yes, you can. It is really up to the minister. As there is no motion before the chamber, I cannot take it any further.

Unit Titles (Staged Development) Amendment Bill 2005

Debate resumed from 5 May 2005, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (9.54): The opposition will be supporting the Unit Titles (Staged Development) Amendment Bill 2005. I note that the government has consulted with most of the key stakeholders in this area. The opposition also has consulted with those stakeholders and the general feedback has been that this will be a good amendment, that it will add a bit of certainty to the process for staged developments and that it will clarify the law in some areas. For those general reasons, we will be supporting the bill.

Some positives will come out of it. I think that it does provide a good balance between the interests of developers and purchasers. There are some important protections there for purchasers, in particular in the second stage of developments, without being overly prescriptive. The current law is restrictive in terms of staged developments and that, in some cases, can have some unintended consequences and can be unhelpful.

Among the positives that we see is the potential for a higher standard of product based on the staged process. There does appear to be greater design flexibility. The impact of the extended time frame on finances is an important point. The ability to monitor the adequacy of early stages of developments will lead to the ability to incorporate changes as a result in future stages.

The bill allows for unit title plan development on a staged basis and sale and settlement of sales prior to construction. The consumer is protected when buying off the plan and this bill has some fixed-term commitments for the developer under this legislation. The consumer’s interests in later stages of development are protected as the bill allows owners in stage 2 of a development to vote on owners’ corporation decisions for that stage. Those are the main positives.

As I said, we have consulted with the industry on this bill and generally the feedback has been positive. I will put on the record one major issue that was raised. Given the likelihood with staged project development of a stage being completed and occupied while other stages are progressed or plan to be progressed, concern was raised as to what protection has been built in to cover a developer going broke and being unable to progress the development to finality. That was one of the issues raised.

A second issue was in relation to ACTPLA’s ability to manage the new freedoms given to developers. Obviously, there is going to be more onus on ACTPLA to manage this process and there was questioning of how successful it will be. I think that ACTPLA’s role in this regard is crucial and we need to be assured that ACTPLA will have the necessary ability to do that.

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