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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 September 2010) . . Page.. 4176 ..

the courts. It also states that this amendment is necessary to make explicit and put beyond any doubt the effectiveness of the registration of such sales. The Canberra Liberals have consulted industry about this bill. We have spoken to groups such as the Property Council, the HIA, the MBA, planners, the Law Society and others.

Industry are generally supportive of this bill, although some have expressed concerns about its complicated nature. I understand that input from the Law Society has been included in this bill, and I note the society is broadly satisfied with its current form. I do note, however, that, as with all legislation, its effect will have to be monitored for unintended consequences.

As I mentioned earlier, the Canberra Liberals agree with the intent of this bill and will support its passage through the Assembly today. The bill will hopefully go some way to clarifying the status of leases to the benefit of buyers, sellers and industry more broadly, which should, hopefully, minimise the number of occasions on which concessional leases are unwittingly sold contrary to section 265. We will therefore support the bill.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (10.50): The Greens will be supporting this bill concerning concessional leases today, and I am pleased that this bill was in fact first put out as an exposure draft, which allowed the various interest groups to have their input into the proposed provisions.

The bill is largely technical, and it deals with the definitions of a concessional lease. All leases which have been issued in the past 20 years which are concessional have been clearly marked with the word “concessional” on them. However, any previous lease may be unclear—that is my understanding.

Some of them show more clearly what the arrangements were at that time, but some just do not. It is confusing, as there are many ways that a lease could end up being concessional and many variations, depending on whether or not market value was paid, whether it was gifted, whether it was a Gorton gift, or whether it was part of the city area leases ordinance—and there is additional confusion, depending on whether or not the lease was subdivided.

The Law Society, in particular, has had many problems with this lack of clarity, and that is what initially prompted the bill, I understand. I know that ACTPLA has been correcting and clarifying leases wherever possible, but it has not always been easy to judge what should happen, based just on the old paperwork.

This bill is going to enable ACTPLA to make some judgements as to whether or not a lease is concessional, which will help the process along. The onus will be on ACTPLA to prove that a lease is concessional. ACTPLA will also be able to issue guidelines to assist people to understand whether a lease is concessional or not.

If a lease is deemed to be concessional then that will be non-appealable, but, if a lease is deemed to be non-concessional then the leaseholder is able to appeal to ACAT for an internal review. So, on the whole, this bill will make leases more comprehensible into the long term.

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