Page 3702 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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of what those body corporate fees might be over the first two years. But, no, Zed Seselja’s Liberal Party could not possibly support that because the Property Council does not support it. They are quite happy to see people ripped off to the tune of nearly $6,000 a year. That is the sort of position that the Liberal Party is putting in this debate.

Through this legislation we are putting in place a provision that the buyer may cancel the contract of sale before the contract is completed if the developer’s disclosure under this bill is incomplete or inaccurate and that the buyer is significantly prejudiced because of this. In the example I have just given, to the tune of $6,000 a year, I think there would be a pretty significant case that someone had been significantly prejudiced. This bill creates for the first time licensing and code of conduct requirements for all owners corporation managers. Substantial changes have been made in relation to the appointment of an owners corporation management, including their conditions of appointment and the manager’s obligation to comply with the code of conduct and to take out public liability insurance. As Mr Smyth has quoted, and I will repeat again, it is intended that the new category of licence be created under the Agents Act, and it is intended that those persons who provide owners corporation management services but do not currently hold an owners corporation manager’s licence will be grandfathered in this legislation.

Another key aspect of the bill is the protection it provides owners corporations, unit owners and tenants through the creation of the new low cost tribunal system. In the event of a dispute, instead of applying to the Magistrates Court, an owner or occupier of a unit in a units plan can apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, or ACAT, to resolve the dispute. I am sure Mr Stefaniak, given today’s news, will be a very strong supporter of the work of that tribunal, and I am sure he will do an admirable job in hearing any cases that come before him. ACAT will be empowered to make a number of orders which are specified in the bill, and these amendments will provide a more cost-effective dispute resolution procedure than exists in the current legislation.

There are countless examples of people who have had bad experiences with the Magistrates Court and, as Mr Kilcullen has indicated in his correspondence, the decision of Magistrate Burns really does limit the capacity under the current legislation for the Magistrates Court to hear these particular disputes. It is important to note—even Mrs Burke in her speech could not quite get with the program with the rest of the Liberal opposition in relation to the changes to the legislation—that the bill does not put forward a funding model for the new Civil and Administrative Tribunal. I acknowledge, and I have on a number of occasions, that it was an aspect of the exposure draft of the bill, and a number of submissions were made around the proposed funding model. It is one of those things that whenever you are in government, you are damned if you do and damned if you do not put forward an exposure draft for consultation. If you make changes to the draft, then all of a sudden there is something sneaky going on, and if you do not make changes, you are not listening. You cannot win either way, but I am pretty used to that.

After a couple of years in this place now, I am pretty used to that accusation. That is pretty much what you get. That is just standard political fodder. It is getting pretty boring, I would have say. We have heard it all before, and it is just a standard line.

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