Page 3609 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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within the unit titles legislation and continues to put material that is factually incorrect into people’s letterboxes. It is a very poor reflection on the Leader of the Opposition and his inability to read the new legislation and to recognise that such provisions had been removed from the exposure draft and that the government had indicated that it would not be proceeding with that particular funding model for the new consolidated tribunal.

Mr Mulcahy has asked a range of questions around how we would proceed. I can advise the Assembly—as I did in my introductory speech on the legislation—that we will implement the legislation using the funds available in the agents trust account and that we will undertake further consultation with stakeholders to develop an appropriate model to fund the new consumer protection measures.

That work would occur post the passage of the legislation. Should the Assembly in its wisdom pass the legislation either later today or at some later time, we have indicated that we will work with stakeholders. But we do not require any funds through trust accounts, other than what is available to us through the agents trust account, to set up this new system.

This is an important system and there are some important reforms, particularly to recognise tenants, to ensure that there are appropriate dispute resolution mechanisms and to ensure that consumers do not get ripped off by what can only be described as some pretty appalling arrangements that some developers have put in place around contracts locking in body corporate managers for sometimes up to 30 or 40 years with exorbitant fees and locking in maintenance contracts for things like lifts and other amenities within unit complexes where the developer gets the particular product for free and then loads up a massive maintenance contract that means that everyone who resides in that particular complex is hit with massive body corporate fees.

It stuns me that the Leader of the Opposition and the Liberal Party in this place have indicated their opposition to these consumer protection mechanisms. What we have from the Liberal Party is this: they are anti tenant; they are anti pet; they are anti consumer. That is fundamentally the position of the Liberal Party on this legislation. It is to their shame, but it is perhaps no surprise. Those of us with a long memory in politics will remember the comments of the then federal leader of the Liberal Party, John Hewson, about renters back in about 1992.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Come back to the subject matter of the question.

MR BARR: We know the stance of the Liberal Party on tenants. We know that they have been opposed to tenants’ rights all the way through and we know that that is why they are opposing this legislation.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Mulcahy?

MR MULCAHY: Thank you. Minister, could you clarify the notice period that is going to be given to unit owners before you introduce a user-pays system—if that has in fact been determined?

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