Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 July 2008) . . Page.. 2733 ..
are just moving the problem somewhere else. The worst thing of all of that, too, is that the good people who are waiting on the waiting list cannot understand why people who are badly behaved get to be moved out and often to better accommodation.
In terms of time today, I just wanted to put on the record that it is a concern. Antisocial behaviour continues to be a concern. It continues to be a concern because those people that persist in this type of behaviour simply play the government; they play the authorities. Simply saying that we will have to be satisfied that the breach justifies the termination of the tenancy, I really hope, will not water it down. I hope that those people who are currently the victims of these people and who are at the hands of people carrying out antisocial behaviour see some result here.
When people have been given chance after chance after chance, when is it time that we draw the line? When is it that we say, “We will not keep letting you flout the law”? I am hoping that this is going to be enforceable. I hope that people will make the choices to abide by their tenancy agreements. That is ultimately what we want.
I think what Mr Corbell was saying in March was that we have to really give people the opportunity to be able to abide by that agreement and that we do not ever have to get to evict people. But we cannot let a situation continue that is continuing in Canberra right now, where there are no boundaries, it would seem. Complex problems are rife throughout the system and, often—it is unfortunate—people have to make that choice: either abide by your tenancy agreement or find alternative accommodation. Why should the majority of good people have to suffer? And Mr Hargreaves himself says it is a minority that we are having a problem with at the moment.
That is what I would say. I am pleased to see that the government is trying to do something. I have to say, though, it does seem to be too little too late. I will be watching carefully to see how this works out. I hope it sends the message to those people who continue to flout their agreements that they are on notice and that there is now going to be a bit of a tougher course for them to work through. I think that we want to see and need to see in our community a real decrease in the amount of antisocial behaviour, particularly in our public housing properties and particularly when it is perpetrated against other public housing tenants who are also vulnerable.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.37): I do not think it is reasonable to suggest that this amendment that deals with breaches of tenancy agreements is adding a new or additional threshold for decision making when it comes to whether or not someone should be evicted. I refer to the fact that this requirement that is proposed, whereby the tribunal must be satisfied that the breach of a specific performance order justifies the termination of the tenancy, is consistent with other sections which are already in the act and which deal with termination of a tenancy agreement. We are saying that we need to be consistent. There are other provisions in the act that say that, if the tribunal is to consider termination of a tenancy, it must be satisfied that the breach warrants termination of the tenancy. We are saying that in these circumstances as well it must be satisfied that the breach warrants termination of the tenancy. So it is a consistent approach. It is not a lessening but nor is it a raising of the threshold. It is maintaining the threshold consistently.