Page 3703 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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You pull the string out of the back of an opposition politician, and that is what they will say. In the first term of this government, we consulted too much. In the second term we are not consulting enough. They have nothing constructive to say, which goes back to my initial comments—a little bit of column A; it is all about the process. If you cannot find a substantive argument against what the government is intending to do, there must be something wrong with the process. You get that a lot, too, in politics, particularly 51 days away from an election. It is almost entirely column A now.

It is important that government does respond, and we have sought to do so through the changes that were made to the exposure draft to the piece of legislation that we are now debating tonight. The government has removed a range of provisions that were the subject of some concern from some stakeholders. But it should be very clear that the funding proposed in the exposure draft was not intended to fund ACAT, and nor will any future model relating to this legislation. There is no way—and I make that absolutely categorically clear—that the funding of ACAT will come from unit owners. That is certainly not the case.

Finally, and very importantly to many people, the bill provides for the keeping of pets. Rather than having the provisions as part of the default articles and the schedule in the regulations, the bill allows for a unit owner to keep an animal and for an owners corporation to give consent with or without conditions. The bill also provides that the consent of the owners corporation cannot be unreasonably withheld. In the show of support for this bill, I am pleased to say that the RSPCA have agreed to work with the government to develop a set of procedures to assist owners and owners corporations to resolve disputes and any appeals that will be heard by ACAT. The RSPCA has also indicated its willingness to assist owners and owners corporations in the dispute resolution process.

This bill is the result of public feedback on the inadequacies of the current act and the government’s determination to address those inadequacies. It is the result of two years of extensive public consultation. The bill provides greater consumer protection and fairness to all parties and access to faster, less legalistic and less expensive dispute resolution. It is fair to say that it is progressive legislation that reflects the kinds of changes that have been introduced in other jurisdictions, and it is legislation that will benefit many in our community. The bill has also been endorsed by the Tenants Union, the RSPCA and many constituents who have contacted ACTPLA and my office to urge the passage of the bill. I commend the Unit Titles Amendment Bill to the Assembly, and I thank members for their support.

Question put:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 10

Noes 6

Mr Barr

Mr Gentleman

Mrs Burke

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Berry

Mr Hargreaves

Mrs Dunne

Mr Corbell

Ms MacDonald

Mr Mulcahy

Dr Foskey

Ms Porter

Mr Seselja

Ms Gallagher

Mr Stanhope

Mr Smyth

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