Page 3691 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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to have ACAT sign off on maintenance contracts and the like. That is a crazy way to operate, because it will mean that it is very difficult to actually set up the unit title in the first place. It will be hard to get the certificate of occupancy so that people can move into new unit title structures, because there will almost certainly be a backlog of people waiting to get permission. There is a backlog now. The approval of unit titles is blowing out from what used to be five or eight weeks to numbers of months now. People are waiting around for the opportunity to move into houses for which builders and developers cannot get certificates of occupancy, so the builders and developers are accumulating debt waiting for officials to sign off on unit titles. It will get worse under this regime because of the layers of bureaucracy that go into this.

After all the experience that members like me have had of dealing with people who have a litany of complaints about the operation of the unit titles legislation as it currently operates, it is interesting to hear Mr Mulcahy’s revelation that ACTPLA does not keep records of this, and that is an indictment of ACTPLA. If this is the case—and the minister needs to address this issue—that, after years and years of people complaining to ACTPLA, they do not actually keep a record of the nature of the complaints, how is it that this organisation can come up with a new model? They seemed to have invented this legislation without any reference to the concerns of people that have been brought to them for year after year after year—a decade’s worth of complaints, to my knowledge, and Mr Mulcahy was told by ACTPLA that they do not have a record of those complaints. How is it that they can propose to the government and the government can propose to this Assembly tonight that we pass this legislation when they do not have a reference point for what it is that they are trying to fix?

As with all of these complex pieces of legislation, a lot of the detail is in the regulations. As is its wont, the Stanhope government does not provide even draft regulations with complex pieces of legislation. There have been assurances from the minister that there will no longer be a provision for moneys to be paid into an ACAT trust and that the government will not be skimming the interest off for its own purposes. But we have not seen the regulations; we do not know what is in the regulations. We do not know that the regulations will not reappear after this Assembly to reinstate this method. If you listen very carefully to what the minister has said, he has been extraordinarily cagey on this issue. He keeps saying: “Look at the black letter in this law. It isn’t here, so we must have done away with it.” But if you really, really push him, the words are quite different. There is a caginess about it.

Of course, there is the final statement that if we do not go ahead with the trust provisions in the ACAT legislation then there will be a levy. So, either way, Jon Stanhope and Andrew Barr are coming after the unit title owners and occupiers in the ACT to put their hands in the pockets of owners and occupiers, to pick their pockets once again. The thing is that it will not be a small levy, because nothing the Stanhope government does is a small levy. It will not be a levy that just covers the cost of ACAT; there will be something on the top for Jon Stanhope.

What I have outlined tonight is all the things that are wrong with this legislation. Unit titles have been in trouble for years in the ACT. There is no denying that. But what Andrew Barr has brought in here tonight, expecting us to pass, will not solve the

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