Page 2640 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 July 2008

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Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2007

Debate resumed from 21 November 2007, on motion by Dr Foskey:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.44): The government will not be supporting Dr Foskey’s bill this evening. Dr Foskey presented the bill to the Assembly on 21 November last year. The bill seeks to require all landlords of ACT properties to disclose an energy efficiency rating when advertising a lease. This will require owners of properties without an existing energy efficiency rating to have the property assessed before advertising a rental vacancy.

I have to say that the government does share Dr Foskey’s concern about climate change and sustainable housing in the territory. The government has made a commitment to sustainability and meeting the climate change challenge. It is one of our top priorities.

This commitment is illustrated by the government’s $100 million climate change strategy announced in August last year, along with the first of a series of comprehensive five-year action plans. This is a $100 million long-term investment in tackling climate change and implementing a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, the government has previously implemented a number of other programs and policies to reduce emissions, including initiatives focused on residential buildings such as the ACT energy wise program which provides home energy audits and rebates for energy efficiency improvements and the home energy advisory service which provides advice to residential and small businesses on energy efficiency measures.

Highlights of the 2007-2011 action plan include a number of actions and initiatives focused on household energy consumption. Action 20 of the plan deals with energy saving appliances and technologies for new homes. Action 19 states that the ACT has in place an energy rating scheme that applies to residential properties at point of sale, to increase awareness of energy use.

Where practicable, the ACT government will extend this program to include commercial and rental properties. The key issue here is “where practicable”. Dr Foskey has failed to provide, in her introduction speech, a thorough analysis of whether this measure is practical at this point in time. Before introducing a requirement that would have far-reaching consequences for both landlords and tenants in the ACT, the government believes it is necessary to undertake a thorough examination of the practicality of extending the requirement for the energy rating to all rental properties at this point in the rental cycle.

One of the key issues, of course, is: will it have a significant impact on market behaviour? I think it is important to note that delivering information about energy uses to the property sales market is a very different proposition from delivering that same

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