Page 2641 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 July 2008

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information to the rental market. The factors and considerations that renters make when it comes to leasing a rental property are very different from those that relate to someone that is seeking to purchase a property.

Indeed, it is clear that the analysis that is undertaken in the energy rating scheme for the sale of residential properties does serve a very valuable purpose in educating new homeowners about the potential to improve the energy performance of their dwelling and, therefore, reduce their energy costs and their emissions. However, it is not the same when it comes to the rental market. Indeed, renters have limited ability to influence the energy performance of a dwelling. They do not own the property, nor are they in a position to make immediate changes—aside, potentially, from some very straight forward and basic ones—to the energy performance of the dwelling.

Combine that with the issues on the opportunities and choices that currently exist in the ACT rental market. The rental market is very tight. We are all aware of some of the pressures renters are facing. For that reason, the government believes that further consideration and detailed investigation must be undertaken before a decision is taken to simply implement a scheme.

I think, in many respects, this is a fairly cheap gesture by Dr Foskey. By seeking to highlight an initiative the government has said will be subject to further consideration, she is trying to portray the government as not acting on something it has put into its own strategy. Of course, that simplistic assertion fails to acknowledge the factors that I just outlined.

The rental market does perform differently from the property sales market. The factors and the ability of renters to influence the energy performance of dwellings are different from those related to someone who owns the property. Further, the choices available to people in the current housing rental market militate against them being able to choose against the relative energy performance merits of dwellings that they may be seeking to let.

So for all of those reasons, at this time the government does not support the bill. We will, however, be conducting, in the coming 12 months, our own detailed analysis about the applicability of the requirements of the energy rating scheme as it applies to rental properties and commercial properties. That will allow us to make an informed and considered decision rather than achieve a political point. At this stage, the government cannot support Dr Foskey’s bill.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.51): The Canberra Liberals will not be supporting this bill either and we have consistently opposed the proposals that the Greens have put forward in relation to residential tenancies and energy efficiencies. The bill is designed to compel landlords to commission an energy rating and publish it every time that they advertise the property for rent. And this is slightly different from the current situation which says that if you have one you must publish it. The issue that Mr Corbell touched on is: will this affect renters’ actions? I do think that it will.

Of course, it does not take away from the fact that the quality of some of Canberra’s rental housing stock is appalling and has been for a long time. I think that all of us know or have known someone who has lived in an appallingly cold box in Canberra.

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