Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 August 2008) . . Page.. 3678 ..
They have gotten this bill wrong, in a number of ways. We propose that this bill be put aside. If they were fair dinkum, they would wait until after the election. We will have a new Assembly, a different Assembly. We are dead sure there are not going to be nine Labor members. There will be at least a couple less than nine. They will not have majority government. When we are in government, we will go through a process of actually properly consulting with the community—
Mr Barr: At the rate you are losing your members, mate, you would be lucky to come back with seven yourself.
MR SESELJA: and properly listening to the community, Mr Speaker, we will listen to the community and we will get it right.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Barr!
MR SESELJA: This government have not taken the time to get it right. They have got it wrong. We will oppose this legislation as it stands. We will come back after the election and we will get sensible legislation. We guarantee that we will not be reaching into the pockets of unit owners and renters in order to fund our promises. We will not be imposing a stealthy tax of the kind that they initially proposed and which we know they still have plans to bring in. One way or another, whether it is a levy or whether it is the interest from administration funds, they will do it.
There are significant problems with this bill. The bill does not get the balance right. The government has had to bring in a number of minor amendments at the last minute, and that is because of the confusion caused as a result of not getting this bill right in the first place. But even with these minor amendments they do not get the balance right. We will be opposing the bill.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (9.07): The Greens will support this bill in principle, but we agree with Mr Seselja that we would like to see the detail stage postponed until a later date. The unit titles regime in the ACT has needed an overhaul for some time, and I commend the ACT government for the review programs to date. That includes the issues paper prepared in 2006 and a draft bill released for comment earlier this year, for arguably too short a time.
I am aware that there are considerable concerns with this bill, and while I flag general support for it I would rather that it was passed early next year after more consultation, particularly with owners. People who own units often comment on their frustrations about the operations of their unit plans by their unit plan managers. In part, that is due to expectations that might be unreasonable given the actual funding and powers that are available to those managers, or it could be because of a lack of clarity and/or accountability. I believe that this bill goes some way towards making those responsibilities and expectations clearer.
With those clearer responsibilities and accountabilities come some costs. The requirement for funds to be kept in trust accounts clearly seems unfair to owners who are in control or who believe they are in control of their operations. It does provide