Page 2928 - Week 09 - Thursday, 18 August 2005

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The government’s view of Dr Foskey’s proposed amendment is that it is not appropriate for the Residential Tenancies Tribunal to be vested with the power to remove a tenant from a property when the Magistrates Court has decided that it is not warranted in a particular circumstance, or that an undertaking has been received in the Magistrates Court from the person concerned. In cases where an undertaking is not being given it would be inappropriate to enter a tenant’s agreement where an interim domestic violence order has been made and the tenant has not had an opportunity to challenge the order. Dr Foskey’s amendment would broaden the role of the Residential Tenancy Tribunal and allow the tribunal to take action where the Magistrates Court has deliberately determined it is not appropriate for that action to be taken.

The Residential Tenancies Tribunal should remain a low-cost, high-transaction tribunal designed to resolve tenancy disputes between a lessor and a tenant rather than disputes between occupants of premises. The tribunal does not have jurisdiction to resolve domestic violence disputes and it is not suited to deal with that type of matter or other intertenancy disputes. Domestic violence matters should continue to be heard by the Magistrates Court.

It is not that the government opposes the intent of Dr Foskey’s proposed amendment; it is just that the government believes it is for the Magistrates Court, with its jurisdiction, to determine whether in a particular circumstance a person should be asked to leave certain premises. We do not believe that is a function that should be vested in the Residential Tenancies Tribunal.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.49): The opposition will support the amendments to be moved by the government rather than Dr Foskey’s amendment. I concur with the comments made by the Chief Minister in relation to this matter.

Amendment negatived.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (4.50): I seek leave to move together amendments Nos 3 and 4 circulated in my name.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: I move amendments Nos 3 and 4 circulated in my name [see schedule 5 at page 2945].

Amendment No 3 seeks to amend section 107A, subsection (1), which permits the Residential Tenancies Tribunal to make an order substituting an occupant of the tenant or a co-tenant where the existing tenant or co-tenant has given an undertaken to a court to leave the premises. Where such an undertaking is given to the court, this should be reflected in the residential tenancies agreement. This amendment also clarifies that a court order removing a person from the premises cannot be an interim order. This amendment was proposed as a result of discussions with community sector organisations.

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